Six years after conflict erupted in April 2014 between Russian-backed separatists and the Ukrainian military in eastern Ukraine, the war makes few headlines but isn’t over: more than 13,000 people have been killed and tens of thousands wounded – many of them civilians.
Hundreds of thousands of the 1.4 million Ukrainians displaced by the conflict remain without homes and living in frontline areas. Many of these are elderly people who have to cross the so-called “contact line” regularly to pick up government pensions and medical supplies.
Recently, Ukrainian and Russian political leaders have made overtures about seeking a negotiated solution, but genuine progress towards peace remains elusive, and February and March 2020 have seen renewed unrest and skirmishes.
Read more → The women of Ukraine's festering war
Ukraine’s conflict disproportionately affects elderly people, and aid groups have for years been treating thousands for hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease – all underlying conditions that make older people in particular more vulnerable to COVID-19.
Late last year video journalist Frederick Gillingham travelled to frontline areas in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region and gained access to the operations of some unlikely humanitarian workers: employees of the state utility company Voda Donbasa.
His film not only shows how this group of volunteer workers risks life and limb to keep services going in areas where land mines and shelling are constant threats, but it also offers a glimpse into the hardships of civilian life in an interminable conflict on the EU’s doorstep.
Right now, we’re working with contributors on the ground in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries to tell the stories of people enduring and responding to a rapidly evolving humanitarian crisis.
We’re documenting the threats to humanitarian response in the country and providing a platform for those bearing the brunt of the invasion. Our goal is to bring you the truth at a time when disinformation is rampant.
But while much of the world’s focus may be on Ukraine, we are continuing our reporting on myriad other humanitarian disasters – from Haiti to the Sahel to Afghanistan to Myanmar. We’ve been covering humanitarian crises for more than 25 years, and our journalism has always been free, accessible for all, and – most importantly – balanced.
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