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Ukraine War: The Support for the Population has Changed

Since the beginning of the war, more than 300,000 people have received food parcels. Photo: Malteser Ukraine

In the kindergarten in Lviv, children are increasingly seeking refuge from attacks in shelters. They are accompanied by Malteser Ukraine staff who provide them with psychological support. Photo: Malteser Ukraine

To date, the provision of aid for the whole country has been effectively managed from the western regions of Ukraine. However, as we enter the third year of conflict, the situation is changing. Russia's aggression forces aid workers to use a new approach to reach populations in need.


Lviv. When the Russian army invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Malteser in Ukraine began directly aiding those displaced by the conflict. They distributed food at the border crossings, in shelters and at train stations. As the conflict evolves, relief efforts have extended to the eastern and southern regions, benefitting over 300,000 individuals with crucial supplies such as food and generators. But intensifying bombardments by Russian forces have posed significant challenges, leading to restricted operations in key hubs like Kharkiv, Odessa, Zaporizhia, and even in Lviv.

"We've had to learn to set priorities"

Pavlo Titko, Head of Malteser Ukraine in Lviv, observes a significant shift in the organization's approach over the past two years. "In the first year, we worked at a completely different pace. We rushed to help wherever needed most. Now, after two years of conflict, our approach has evolved into a more strategic, long-term endeavor. What was once a sprint has now become a marathon. We've had to learn to set priorities, recognizing that our capacity is not infinite. And we are not just helpers, but also victims. Our family members and friends are fighting in the war, some of our relatives have died. It is very difficult and exhausting to always focus on work while personal matters take center stage at times. We have to constantly gather our strength to continue our work. At the same time, helping our fellow human beings is a strong source of strength and motivation for us to keep working," says Titko.

Mental toll mounts

With each passing day, the psychological toll of the conflict weighs heavier on the people. Alongside the distribution of relief supplies, offering psychosocial support has become a cornerstone of our work. Over the past two years, Malteser International has reached out to approximately 67,000 individuals in Ukraine, offering counseling and support through a dedicated team of 70 therapists. Whether through one-on-one sessions or group interventions, in-person or via virtual platforms, the experts provide assistance in navigating the emotional upheaval wrought by the conflict. Pavlo Titko remembers one encounter in particular:
"In the early days of the conflict, a mother and her children were fleeing the war in eastern Ukraine. They were on the road for three days until they reached the border. There they stood in line for another three days. It was cold and snowing at the time. They were hungry. This woman called our hotline and asked one of our psychologists for help. She later said that if she hadn't received help, she would have committed suicide. This is one of the stories that impressed me the most. But after two years of war, there are new stories every day that move me deeply. It's these stories that give me the motivation to keep going," says Titko.

"Thinking about how we want to spend this life"

"The war has made us all think about our values, about how we want to spend this life, how we want to live. Material values have actually taken a back seat for me, because they have suddenly become worthless," summarizes Pavlo Titko.

Attention editors:
Photos for download can be found here.
Pavlo Titko, Head of Malteser Ukraine in Lviv, is available for interviews and sound bites.
Contact: +49 (0)221 9822- 7181, katharina.kiecol@malteser-international.org

The people affected in Ukraine are in urgent need of donations:
Malteser Hilfsdienst e. V.
IBAN: DE10 3706 0120 1201 2000 12




Katharina Kiecol
Email: katharina.kiecol(at)malteser-international.org

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