War in Ukraine: the UN Secretary General on a solidarity visit to Moldova

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The United Nations has launched a large-scale operation to help Ukrainians, including those who have taken refuge in Moldova. At the Palanca border post, the refugees are welcomed by UN employees who help them find their way, provide them with material and legal support and provide them with the bare necessities.

“But we think we need to do a lot more,” the UN chief stressed during a joint press conference with Moldovan Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilița in the capital Chisinau.

Crisis in Europe

“It has not been easy for the UN to readapt to a humanitarian crisis in Europe. Here, we don’t have the traditional forms of humanitarian aid that we know in the crisis areas of the developing world, in fragile states. It has therefore taken time to organize our work and fully respond to the cooperation needs that Moldova expects from the UN,” said António Guterres.

The UN is thus doing everything to intensify its most effective programmes, in particular the cash assistance programmes. The UN chief said people should be trusted to know what their primary needs are and how they want to spend the funds given to them. The UN plans to provide such assistance to 90,000 refugees and 55,000 families hosting them.

fragile economy

Moldova is a small European country with a “fragile economy”. It is landlocked and the Ukrainian port of Odessa, through which it ships its goods to the rest of the world, is closed due to the war.

Moreover, Moldova is not only a country that has opened its doors to refugees, like many of its neighbors. Relative to the size of its population, it hosted the largest number of Ukrainian refugees.

“Moldova needs and deserves massive support, including budgetary support to match its generosity,” the UN chief stressed, noting that it is necessary to preserve stability in the country.

He recalled that the socio-economic impact of the war in Ukraine in the region and in the world is deep and far-reaching, especially since it coincided with the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Food and energy prices are rising and it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to make ends meet.

The Secretary-General stressed that the United Nations is committed to supporting not only the people of Ukraine, but also the people of Moldova. “Your sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, as well as the solid progress you have made over the past three decades, must not be threatened or undermined,” he said.

bring peace

He urged Russia to stop the invasion of Ukraine and the two sides to strengthen diplomatic efforts and dialogue to immediately reach an agreement in accordance with international laws and the UN Charter. He also called on regional and international partners to support this process “in the interests of global stability”.

“On this May 9, we remember that dialogue and cooperation based on mutual respect are the foundation of peace and security, in Europe and in the world,” added the UN chief. Every year on May 9, Russia celebrates its victory over Nazi Germany.

This year, against the background of the war in Ukraine, the residents of Chisinau waited with some apprehension for the anniversary of the victory over Nazism. The press reported a risk of clashes between groups with a different vision of historical events.

A car rally with flags and the “Ribbon of St. George”, banned in this country, took place, but its participants staged a rally and then parted peacefully. “The fact that my visit fell on May 9 is pure coincidence,” assured the UN chief, answering a question from a journalist.

Joined the UN 30 years ago

The UN Secretary-General has congratulated Moldova on an anniversary marking the 30th anniversary of its membership in the UN.

In 1992, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and following the independence of Moldova, this republic joined the ranks of the UN. António Guterres hailed Moldova’s contributions to peacekeeping, sustainable development, gender equality and climate change.

The UN has requested $2.5 billion for humanitarian aid on the ground in Ukraine, and $1.85 billion to help refugees in other countries. “I urge all countries to give generously. Overall, these are tiny sums, “said the UN chief. He also called on all countries to consider the possibility of strengthening their economic cooperation with Moldova.

Today, the influx of refugees into Moldova is not comparable to the first days of the war. However, according to UN staff at the border, sometimes there is a sudden increase in the number of refugees. This happens especially frequently after a new escalation – an increase in missile attacks.

According to the UN estimate, by the end of the year, the number of refugees in Moldova could reach one million people, and 250,000 of them will remain in this country.

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