Ukraine: PES marks tragedy of 100 days of Russia’s brutal invasion

Ukraine: PES marks tragedy of 100 days of Russia’s brutal invasion

Since 24 February 2022, 6,801,987 people have fled Ukraine, of which 90% are women and children. According to UNICEF three million children inside Ukraine and over 2.2 million children in refugee-hosting countries are now in need of humanitarian assistance.

As expressed in the PES Presidency statement of 24 February, the PES condemns in the gravest manner Russia’s unprovoked military attack against Ukraine and demands an immediate withdrawal of Russian military forces.  We firmly support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Russia must allow safe, and unhindered humanitarian access and safe passage for civilians, and allow for humanitarian aid to be delivered. We command Ukrainians heroic resistance and their battle for peace and freedom, we strongly support tough EU sanctions on Russia. We demand an immediate ceasefire and negotiated peace. We will hold those responsible accountable for violations of humanitarian and international law, including war crimes.

The European Union made it clear that it stands in solidarity with Ukraine against the Russian Federation’s brutal invasion. The EU has reacted quickly and is helping people through humanitarian aid, emergency civil protection assistance and support at the border.

For the PES, this also means the EU must support the people of Ukraine, including those fleeing the war and seeking refuge in the EU. Through our commissioners, our elected representatives in the S&D Group, our governments in the European Council, trade unions, members in the European Committee of the Regions and local representatives, we continue to work hard to implement policies that improve the dreadful situation of the Ukrainian people.

Thanks to the efforts of our PES EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, a historic agreement was made to activate the Temporary Protection Mechanism. This is a clear legal status allowing those fleeing the war from Ukraine to receive immediate protection. Our representatives in the S&D have called for a Child Protection Package to support the integration of the millions of children fleeing Ukraine. The Cohesion’s Action for Refugees in Europe (CARE) initiative, launched by PES EU Commissioners Elisa Ferreira and Nicolas Schmit, helps Member States financially as they welcome people fleeing the war in Ukraine. Our colleagues in the PES Group in the European Committee of the Region and our local representatives work hard every day in all areas of civic life to improve the wellbeing of the Ukrainian people.

Tragically, the war continues. And it remains difficult to predict for how long displaced Ukrainians will want or need to stay in the EU. Given the vast scale of the destruction in Ukraine and the lingering effects the war will have on its economy, displaced Ukrainians could stay for a longer period. Therefore, we must be prepared to welcome these refugees in our societies for the medium to long term.

We call on Member States and the European Commission to step up their efforts and keep taking the necessary actions – in the continued spirit of unity and with a long-term approach – to support people in Ukraine, welcome refugees, and help rebuild Ukraine so people can eventually return to their homes.