Over the past year tens of thousands of civilians have been killed and many more injured, as Russian forces have targeted cities, towns and critical infrastructure including hospitals and energy facilities. The futures of countless people have been irreversibly harmed. Hundreds of combatants are being killed every day.
Several million refugees have had to flee to neighbouring countries, in particular Poland, and at least six million have been displaced internally within Ukraine.
“The war must end. Vladimir Putin must stop this senseless barbarity and remove all Russian forces from Ukrainian territory. A just and sustainable peace, based on international law, is required and those responsible for war crimes must be brought to justice.
“We salute the courage of the Ukrainian people, we mourn with them for the loss of families and friends and we will continue to stand in solidarity with them. The task of reconstruction and recovery from the devastation will be enormous, with immediate humanitarian needs growing by the day,” said ITUC Deputy General Secretary Owen Tudor.
The ITUC-affiliated national trade union centres FPU and KVPU have mobilised to deliver humanitarian assistance, supported by the ITUC through its public fundraising appeal, as well as by the ETUC and many other organisations, including trade unions from Europe and beyond.
This has included the provision of support for bereaved families, providing accommodation, food, medical supplies and other necessities for displaced people, repairing damaged buildings and providing psychosocial and other support to families. The union organisations continue to carry out their core trade union functions, under extremely difficult conditions.
Unions in neighbouring countries are active in providing advice and support to refugees. This includes accommodating them, meeting their needs, helping them to access services and benefits, ensuring their employment and other legal rights, integrating children into education, establishing information and communications networks and many other forms of support. Neighbouring unions have also continued to collect and transport vital goods into Ukraine.
The Russian invasion has had severe consequences in many other countries as well. Spiralling food and fuel costs, exacerbated by corporate profit gouging, continue to hit people hard and increase poverty, especially in many less wealthy countries.
Shortages of fertiliser and other raw materials, traditionally supplied by Russia and Ukraine and also Belarus, have disrupted food production, as well as supply chains that were already impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Russia’s invasion, with Vladimir Putin exercising absolute control over the country, is a blatant violation of the United Nations Charter. The impacts on the people of Ukraine are devastating, and the broader consequences for international relations and for the prospects for peaceful co-existence and cooperation globally are immense. The ITUC’s solidarity with the people and unions of Ukraine is absolute and will remain so as we continue the quest for peace based on common security, for justice and for the full respect of human rights and international law,” said Owen Tudor.