Ukraine one month on: hold on to hope

Ukraine one month on: hold on to hope

Tina Hartung via Unsplash

Today marks one month since Russia invaded Ukraine. 

Thousands of Ukrainian civilians have been needlessly killed. Families are being torn apart, homes destroyed  and communities ravaged by war. 

The future for Ukrainians at home and abroad remains uncertain. Over three million people have fled into neighbouring countries. The majority of them are women and children. Ukrainians are paying a heavy price for a conflict they do not want, seeing their friends and loved ones harmed or killed by the invading Russian army. Meanwhile, thousands of Russians have been arrested for protesting against the war in their own country, and the dissent grows. 

Our local peacebuilding correspondent from Ukraine has moved to safety in Poland. She told us:

“Local civil society, volunteers and international organisations have combined their efforts to provide support to those displaced or affected by conflict in Ukraine. The war has united society as it never has before. I believe it is all these efforts that will bring peace to Ukraine soon.” 

The high-level talks and negotiations have yielded little so far. The perspectives of local communities on both sides remain far from these conversations.

As the war grinds on, more must be done to protect those directly impacted by the war. Peace Direct hopes for:

  • An agreement to bring this devastating war to an end. Negotiations with even the most violent of aggressors must always remain an option, even when it is the unpopular choice.
  • Space for local voices: to share how to find a route out of violence and rebuild social cohesion for the future.
  • Investment in mental health support for those affected by war who face not only physical wounds, but psychological ones too. Meaningful and practical support must be provided for people to recover from the trauma of conflict, and not to lose hope.
  • Flexible funding from donors and governments to provide civil society organisations with the funding they need now and in the future. 
  • Support from the international community for female human rights defenders and peace activists who will be central to finding a resolution to the conflict and building peace.

Dylan Mathews & Elana Aquino of Peace Direct shared a joint statement: 

“For weeks we have watched with horror as this conflict has unfolded. Like many, we have felt helpless as we watched families flee with the few possessions they could carry, hoping to find comfort and welcome in Poland or other neighbouring countries. 

“The ongoing crisis in Ukraine, as well as Afghanistan, Yemen and elsewhere, coupled with soaring energy and food prices, serve as a reminder of our shared pursuit for peace. As well as the human price, war costs trillions globally, whereas peacebuilding is far more effective and vastly cheaper. At Peace Direct we are reaching out to the local organisations we know are still working in Ukraine, to see how we can support their work at this time. We extend our solidarity to all those affected by violent conflict around the world, regardless of country, ethnicity, race or gender. Do what you can, give what you can, and hold on to hope.”

 

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