The United Nations in Ukraine
In the wake of the February 24th Russian attack on Ukraine the United Nations mounted a large-scale relief operation to help those uprooted and otherwise affected by the war. In the space of just a few weeks, millions of people lost their homes and livelihoods in the fastest and largest displacement crisis in recent memory. Within a relatively short time the war turned Ukraine, a vast country of 44 million, into what UN Secretary-General António Guterres during a visit to Kyiv described as “an epicenter of unbearable heartache and pain.”
The conflict has engulfed virtually all aspects of life and human activity from health to culture to education to economic and agricultural production, turning some of Ukraine’s prosperous and vibrant cities into deserted and ruined ghost towns, raising the specter of global food shortages. Several of the UN’s specialized agencies supported by local partners moved fast redeploying staff from other operations and establishing presence in all of Ukraine’s administrative areas despite many risks and logistical difficulties, in what is deemed one of the fastest scale-up operations ever undertaken by the United Nations.
As civilian casualties grew reaching thousands of dead and wounded, the UN agencies ramped up relief efforts to help survivors, including those trapped in the besieged city of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov where the UN jointly with the International Committee of the Red Cross conducted a mission to evacuate desperate civilians.
Even as fighting raged, especially in the east and south of Ukraine, the UN and its Ukrainian government and international donors and partners started drawing up plans for the eventual reconstruction of Ukraine. Fast, brutal and deadly as the war has been it has also seen a remarkable courage and resilience of the Ukrainian people in the face of adversity as well as an unprecedented generosity of Ukraine’s neighbors who have opened their doors to those fleeing the country.
Read more about the UN response to the war in Ukraine > The UN and the war in Ukraine: key information
Read more about the Humanitarian situation > Ukraine situation report