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Friday, 19. July 2024

Declaration of the Board of IPPNW Germany

The War in Ukraine – a Catastrophe for the People in Ukraine and for Peace in Europe

What began as social and political protests two and a half years ago has since developed into an armed confrontation between Ukrainian troops with Western backing on the one hand and separatist forces with Russian support on the other. Estimates of combatant and civilian casualties lie somewhere between 6,000 and 50,000. Findings of WHO and UNHCR suggest that it is predominantly women, children and the elderly who are bearing the brunt of war – a phenomenon frequently observed in contemporary wars.

The Ukrainian health system, already under pressure before the outbreak of violence, and suffering from limited resources and lack of health personnel, is struggling to provide health services to the local population, while at the same time treating the injured and the estimated 1.1 million internally displaced people.

The situation is especially catastrophic in Eastern Ukraine. In the regions controlled by separatists, the population is cut off from government social services that cannot be adequately replaced by local authorities. UNHCR estimates that about 675,000 people have already fled the country. Of these, about 540,000 have sought refuge in Russia and 80,000 in Belarus.

What is most urgently needed now is neutral international involvement (for example humanitarian aid from ICRC or the United Nations) and an immediate cessation of fighting. Support for any diplomatic efforts to achieve cease-fires is essential. Cease-fires are a prerequisite for a political process as well as a non-violent and fair reconciliation of the legitimate interests of all sides and can serve as a foundation for proper peace negotiations. We know from past wars that cease-fires frequently cannot be completely immediately implemented. However, this should not be used to discredit negotiations.