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EU boosts humanitarian aid to Ukraine

Lewis Sanders IVMarch 16, 2016

Brussels has announced a significant increase in humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, with the EU's crisis management chief saying the aid will target "all vulnerable people affected by the conflict."

Women in Ukraine walk passed a house damaged in a shelling by the Ukrainian army
The conflict in eastern Ukraine erupted in 2014 following the ouster of former President YanukovychImage: picture-alliance/dpa/S. Ilnitsky

The European Commission on Wednesday announced that it will provide Ukraine with a new aid package in the amount of 20 million euros ($22.17 million), bringing the EU executive body's contributions to over 63 million euros.

Brussels is committed to "supporting the Ukrainian people" as the former Soviet nation struggles with a conflict in its eastern regions, EU crisis management chief Christos Stylianides said in a statement.

"Despite the decrease in breaches to the ceasefire, the impact of the violence on the civilian population remains a humanitarian concern. It is essential that humanitarian aid gets to all vulnerable people affected by the conflict swiftly, safely and impartially," said Stylianides.

Brussels' move marks a significant increase in humanitarian aid to Ukraine since an armed insurgency erupted in Ukraine's eastern regions following pro-democracy protests in Kyiv that led to the ouster of Kremlin-backed President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014.

"The support will boost our on-going aid operations, reaching the most vulnerable people both in government and non-government-held areas," Stylianides added.

More than 3 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Ukraine and its neighboring countries, the Commission said.

Ukraine remains locked in a conflict with pro-Russia rebels and has witnessed relations with Moscow deteriorate since Russia's annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

People in need

The EU executive added that some 55 percent of its aid "target people in need in non-government controlled areas."

In February, UNICEF reported that more than 500,000 children living near the conflict's frontline and areas outside government control have been affected.

The UN program added that about 215,000 children have been internally displaced by the eastern Ukrainian conflict.

The EU's humanitarian assistance is expected o be delivered through partner organizations, including UNICEF. It aims to provide assistance to refugees, internally displaced persons and returnees, along with provide basic services in areas where it is currently unavailable.