In Ukraine alone, 1.7 million people have fled their homes because of the conflict in the eastern part of the country. The German Consulate-General Dnipropetrovsk is coordinating the German Government’s humanitarian aid in the region for people who have been affected by the conflict. Andreas Peschke, Director for Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia at the Federal Foreign Office, gained a first-hand impression of the situation on the ground during his visit.
Seventy-five thousand refugees from the conflict regions in eastern Ukraine are officially registered in Dnipropetrovsk. However, the number of unregistered refugees is significantly higher. The German Government is helping to provide social services and to build temporary accommodation for refugee families. One such shelter was opened by Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier last year. In his talks with refugees, Peschke learned about their concerns and problems and assured them of Germany’s continued support.
Help for refugees
Many German humanitarian organisations, such as the Workers’ Samaritan Federation and Caritas Germany, are helping refugees in the region. During his visit to the Caritas project centre, Peschke spoke with Father Pateljuk of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, who is coordinating the aid. The Caritas centre provides people with financial and material transitional assistance until they have found their bearings in their new environment. The centre also holds events and performances for children.
With a congregation of 50,000, Dnipropetrovsk also has a significant Jewish community and one of the largest Jewish community centres in Europe. Andreas Peschke met Chief Rabbi Shmuel Kaminezki and visited the Museum of Jewish History in Ukraine and Holocaust Memorial, which is the largest of its kind in eastern Europe.
Before visiting Dnipropetrovsk, Peschke and his French counterpart held talks with the government and parliament in Kyiv. Both assured their interlocutors of Germany and France’s support for economic and social reforms in Ukraine. At the same time, they underlined their countries’ expectation that Ukraine would remain firmly committed to the necessary path of reform.