If people from the “gray zone” in eastern Ukraine do not learn to love their native land, they will lose it and we will be in trouble again – Caritas Ukraine


Kyiv, December 22, 2015. The most difficult humanitarian situation is in so-called ATO “gray zone”, said Rostyslav Spryniuk, priest of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, head of the charity fund “Caritas Ukraine”, via Skype at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. According to him, the main problems of people who live in areas that are not controlled by any of the parties to the conflict is lack of fuel for heating homes, lack of medicines and the resulting outbreak of tuberculosis and AIDS. CF “Caritas Ukraine” and “Caritas Austria”, whose area of ​​responsibility covers the whole of Donetsk region from Shyrokyne to Avdiivka, try to provide local people with all they need to survive the winter, including fuel briquettes. “Currently, we provide help to Chermalyk, Orlovske, Hnutove, Novoselivka, and Maryinka. We give every household 1, 700 ton of briquettes,” said the priest. According to representatives of the Fund, each person receives 42 bags of fuel briquettes. In addition, the charitable fund provides the population with stoves and electric heaters. Moreover, according to Rostyslav Spryniuk, the fund gives food packages as targeted assistance to people in temporarily occupied territories.

He also said that other countries also help Ukrainians in the east. “These are ‘Caritas Germany’ and ‘Caritas Holland’. We have already worked out the projects to fully provide people in 2016 and 2017,” said the priest. Over the entire period, the fund assisted 20 thousand families, informed Rostyslav Spryniuk. He appealed to the Ukrainian authorities not to forget about the Ukrainians, who remained in the villages of the buffer zone. “If they do not learn to love their native land, they will lose it, even the little they have, and we will be in trouble again,” concluded the priest.

Philanthropists and volunteers of “Vostok.SOS” initiative also help people of frontline villages.  Its coordinator Yevhen Vasyliev said that their work focuses on small towns and villages in the gray zone – Zaitseve, Opytne, Pisky, Lobacheve, Lopaskine, Syze. According to him, “Vostok.SOS” tries to “dilute”  food aid with the socio-cultural program, including shows of Ukrainian films. “Every month our organization assists more than 4,000 people,” said Vasyliev and added that he means all kinds of assistance provided by the fund. These are humanitarian assistance, legal, “hot line”, information assistance and documentation. Two offices opened in Severodonetsk and Starobilsk recently. They provide legal psychological help and hold exit meetings with lawyers in Rubizhne and Luhanske, said Vasyliev.