While Europe struggles to address challenges resulting from the influx of refugees and migrants from outside the European continent, the humanitarian consequences of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine have been largely overlooked by the public opinion.
According to UNHCR statistics, as of October 2015, the overall number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Ukraine amounted to 1 505 600 persons including 190 000 children and 62 000 disabled. The vast majority have fled eastern Ukraine while around 20 000 have fled Crimea. The real figures may be even higher as not all displaced persons have registered with the Ukrainian Ministry of Social Policy.
The volatile security situation and destroyed or damaged infrastructure, private and public property are also major concerns.
The humanitarian plight and instability in the south-eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk are particularly worrying as there is very limited access to these areas for humanitarian assistance.
Besides internally displaced people, a high number of Ukrainian refugees have left the country. Almost 1 000 000 persons have sought protection in neighbouring countries. Out of this figure, over 500 000 have been granted asylum or other forms of humanitarian status in the Russian Federation.
The Parliamentary Assembly, which has already dealt with different aspects of this conflict including with “The humanitarian situation of Ukrainian refugees and displaced persons”, Resolution 2028 (2015), and “Missing persons during the conflict in Ukraine”, Resolution 2067 (2015), should continue to closely follow the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, identify measures which would contribute to its improvement and call on those concerned to implement them in order to alleviate the ongoing human suffering.