A third round of peace talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegations ended with one positive consent – Russian officials promised to allow for a “humanitarian corridor” so that Ukrainian refugees cannot only leave the country if needed, but also so that aid can get to civilians. However, this is the third agreed-upon ceasefire meant to allow for these activities. Two prior ceasefires that were intended to allow for refugees to get to safety were violated within hours. Reports say that women and children in the groups of refugees trying to flee Mariopol.
Some reports state that there are land mines placed along the areas deemed safe for refugees to travel on; however, this report is unconfirmed.
As he has every day since the Russian forces attempted to take Ukraine, President Zelenskyy spoke via video, asking for aid in the form of both lethal assistance and humanitarian aid. Zelenskyy repeated that civilians are being targeted, but on Monday, Zelenskyy had a message for Russia: God will not forgive; you will be judged. We (the Ukrainian people) will not forgive.
Over one million people have attempted to leave Ukraine since the Russian invasion on February 24; most of them went west into Poland. Warehouses and other structures have been outfitted to house these refugees, and the Polish government has been promised a great amount of humanitarian aid from both the European Union as well as other Western allies.
The humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and its neighboring Poland is expected only to grow, although the Russian troop advance appears to be stalling – at least in some positions. Ukrainian officials say that there are Ukrainians are starving and freezing; it is still winter in Ukraine, which doesn’t usually see an end of winter until mid-May.
One Ukrainian official told the Military Times publication: “Children under one year old are dying of pneumonia. . . we are already thinking that the catastrophe in Ukraine will lead to a catastrophe in the world with food because Ukraine was a major supplier of wheat and grain.”
American news outlets are getting reports that women are having babies in shelters set up in Poland. Refugees who have yet to be processed to stay in Polish shelters may wait for hours or days; while some Ukrainians are coming in via bus or by train, many are walking across the border. Hungary, Moldova, and Romania are also expected to be the destination of many Ukrainian refugees.
The refugees are only a portion of Ukrainians facing a humanitarian crisis. Those in major cities such as Kyiv and Kharkiv have dealt with almost incessant bombing and artillery shelling; food shortages are already amassing across the country. Many elderly or disabled are simply unable to travel and are hunkering down in the midst of bullets and bombs.
Currently, Russia has a hold over Kherson, and they have taken the area around a nuclear power plant that supplies about one-quarter of the electricity utilized in Ukraine. The loss of electricity during the winter could further add to the humanitarian crisis already occurring.
If Russia can take Odesa, Ukraine, the country will be completely landlocked with no way to get supplies in and out of the country, which could further worsen the humanitarian crisis.
The World Health Organization is working to provide some aid. The Samaritan’s Purse says they are setting up a hospital in order to help women and children refugees as well as those who may become injured due to shelling and bombing in Ukraine. Samaritan’s Purse organizer and spokesperson Franklin Graham told Fox News’ John Roberts that many pastors in Ukraine have worked to provide aid to civilians as well.
Both the WHO and Samaritan’s Purse are setting up field hospitals and providing supplies in Ukraine’s neighbor, Moldova, as well.
The World Health Organization is asking for aid in the form of medical supplies. They report that medical oxygen is “dangerously low.” However, the organization is set up in Moldova to help distribute supplies that they do have at the moment.