“Donbass and Civilians” - Faces From The Front Line.

The ongoing conflict in the eastern Ukrainian regions of Luhansk and Donetsk - collectively referred to as the “Donbass” - continues to claim lives on an almost daily basis. The war is the legacy of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the subsequent pro-Russian and anti-government demonstrations in the area that resulted in declarations of the independence of the so-called “people’s republics” of Luhansk and Donbass.

In the ensuing fighting  it has been reported by the government of Ukraine that as many as 80% of combatants have been found to be Russian backed paramilitaries, with numerous cases of Russian troops on the ground with heavy armour and artillery.

As is increasingly the case in modern armed conflict the civilian population is bearing the brunt, with as many as 6.5 million people being displaced or facing severe food shortages and living with the almost constant fear of death.

In the European Parliament in Strasbourg this week, lawmakers, advisors and journalists alike were able to see the faces and hear the voices of some of those affected by the tragic events. 

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Senior British parliamentarian Dr. Charles Tannock (pictured left) hosted an exhibition, and the presentation of a book of photographs from the front line, “Donbass and Civilians”, made possible through the work of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation, Ukraine’s largest privately resourced humanitarian organisation, which has been proving aid and assistance for the last five years.

The main goal of the exhibition is to draw attention to the tragedy of Donbass, and the excellent work of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation… The Rinat Akhmetov Foundation began delivering aid 5 years ago and continues to do so today. More than a million people have been saved from the beginning of the conflict in 2014. Over 12 million food packages have been delivered to more than 750 cities and villages in the East of Ukraine. Thanks to these packages people who live along the contact line survive.

Dr. Charles Tannock MEP

According to the United Nations, about four million civilians in Eastern Ukraine are currently in need of humanitarian assistance. 92% of Donbass inhabitants still need the most vital items required for survival: food and medicine. 

The attention of the world appears to have turned away from Eastern Ukraine as Europe appears resigned to what looks to be a long and protracted conflict. Ukrainians live in fear of further armed conflict, indeed even the possibility of invasion, as the Kremlin fans the flames. Alternatively, there is a very real possibility that Vladimir Putin could turn the situation into a “frozen conflict” along the lines of Nagorno-Karabakh, where Armenians and Azerbaijanis have clashed repeatedly since 1988. This conflict has been choreographed by Russia, which supplied both sides with weapons, and has, as is the case in Ukraine, seen hundreds of thousands of civilians being displaced, and steady streams of casualties from both sides.

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor of EU Today.

An experienced journalist and published author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

Gary's latest book WANTED MAN: THE STORY OF MUKHTAR ABLYAZOV: A Manual for Criminals on How to Avoid Punishment in the EU is currently available from Amazon


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