“This convoy has a historic significance to Poland, especially at such a unique time. We wanted the aid to reach our Ukrainian friends before Christmas,” Stanisław Łukasik, Polish Consul General, emphasised in Kharkiv. “Poland’s support means a lot to the Ukrainian people,” added Vadim Glushko, Deputy Governor of the Kharkiv Province.
The convoy has been organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Headquarters of State Fire Service, and the Polish NGOs: the Polish Red Cross, Caritas Poland, and the Polish Centre for International Aid Foundation. At the same time, Polish funds help renovate and winterize an IDP centre near Kharkiv. In addition, over 600 families will benefit from financial help.
At a joint press conference with Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz to see off the convoy on Wednesday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Grzegorz Schetyna thanked all who were involved in organizing the transport, including the non-governmental organizations. “All the organizations have worked together well, showing how to solve problems, build good relationships, and be effective. I should also thank firefighters from across Poland and the Chief Commandant of State Fire Service,” said Minister Schetyna.
During the meeting, Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz highlighted the importance of our solidarity with the people of eastern Ukraine whom the conflict has hit especially hard. “These lorries are just the beginning of what we are capable of and what we want to do for our neighbours in the East,” said the Polish prime minister. On 28 November 2014, Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz decided to release over PLN 3 million from the state budget’s general reserve. The money has gone towards bilateral humanitarian relief for internally displaced persons (IDP) in Ukraine. According to estimates by Ukraine authorities, hostilities have forced over half a million people to change their place of residence.
Since the start of the Ukraine conflict, Poland has provided PLN 10 million worth of humanitarian aid to the people who have suffered most or have been forced to flee their homes. The assistance included hospitalization of those wounded in clashes with the Berkut police, as well as summer camps for children and youth. At the same time, Ukraine receives help from local governments and NGO volunteers, hundreds of whom are engaged in clothes and food collections.