Escalating violence in Ukraine disrupts humanitarian work

  • UN aid work hampered by attacks, especially in the east
  • ICRC and Norwegian Refugee Council suspend field work on Monday
  • Both cite security fears after Russian missile attacks
  • Operations continue, field work expected to resume

GENEVA, Oct 10 (Reuters) – The United Nations and other aid organizations in Ukraine said on Monday that Russia firing missiles at cities across the country had disrupted their humanitarian work on the ground.

Russia struck sites across Ukraine, hitting Kyiv with an intensity not seen since Russian forces sought to capture the capital at the start of the more than seven-month war.

Moscow says the strikes targeted energy, command and communications targets in retaliation for what it describes as terrorist attacks.

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“The wave of attacks, claimed by Russia, have… impacted humanitarian operations across Ukraine, particularly hampering the movement of aid workers and the delivery of emergency supplies in eastern country, where people desperately need help,” the UN humanitarian office said in a report.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, which has some 700 staff at 10 sites across the country and provides aid and medicine, said earlier on Monday that its teams had suspended operations. A second Red Cross spokesperson later added that although field work had temporarily stopped, aid workers were able to continue office work. “As soon as it’s safe to move, they will,” Jason Straziuso said.

The Norwegian Refugee Council also said it had paused its aid operations in Ukraine until it could safely resume, saying the temporary pause affected its work of pre-positioning supplies ahead of the ‘winter.

“We cannot help vulnerable communities when our aid workers are hiding from a deluge of bombs and in fear of repeated attacks,” said Jan Egeland, secretary general of the NRC.

“People are heartbroken that they had to put their work on hold today. I hope we can start working again tomorrow,” he later told Reuters in an interview, expressing concern about the situation. impact of the disruption on older people, many of whom are too weak to seek refuge elsewhere.

A spokesperson for the UN refugee agency said its operations were continuing, with staff taking shelter during the airstrikes.

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Reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by Rachel More, Philippa Fletcher and Lisa Shumaker

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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