Europe's forgotten crisis

Three years ago, everyone's eyes were on Ukraine. But after the 2014 revolution the attention went away. For millions of Ukrainans, the war is still forcing major displacement.

Elin Espmark Wibe | @elinwibe | Wednesday 15 November 2017 15.39 GMT
Anti-terrorist operation in eastern Ukraine (War Ukraine)
Anti-terrorist operation in eastern Ukraine. Photo by: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine

February will mark four years since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. The uproars following the suspensions of signing of an association agreement with the European Union by president-at-the-time Viktor Yanukovych turned violent.

They uproars sparked the Kremlin backed 2014 Ukrainian riots, but as the Euromaidan Revolution came to an end, the world stopped watching.

Decreasing violence

Since then, the war has claimed over 10,000 lives. In addition, the number of injured is up to over 23,000 people. The UN High Commissioner estimates 20% of the killed are civilians, as well as 30% of the injured. However, the number of fatalities has dramatically dropped since the initial clashes.

Continuous displaced population

Although the people injured or killed by violent clashes is decreasing, the number of People of Concern (POC) by the UN is still on a high. At the end of 2016 there were over 1,85 million people, making up 30% of all POC in Europe. Come summer this year the clashes raiding eastern Ukraine this spring are maintaining these numbers. The amount of Internally Displaced People (IDP) in Ukraine was at a peak in 2016, but with almost 1,6 million people still internally displaced by June this year, these figures are still of great concern.

In a global context, these statistics means Ukraine has the 9th largest internally displaced population in the world, behind South Sudan but before Afghanistan.

Upon being surveying by the Ukrainian government, a majority of IDP are dependent on governmental IDP support. Further, only 5% had plans of returning home at the end of last year.

The population of Ukraine was last year ranked in the bottom 30 countries out of 155 countries for well-being, by the UN Happiness Report, dropping further 9 ranks in this year’s report. Before the war, the country was 45 ranks higher up.

The number of refugees originating from Ukraine, albeit significantly lower than IDP, remains high at 230,000 refugees still residing abroad. Though this is a decrease from 311,000 at the end of 2015. A vast majority of these having fled to Russia for protection after the war began.

There has lately been voices from various holds calling for the UN Peacekeepers to go into the region in eastern Ukraine to help solve conflict. Accoding to a spokesperson for the Armed Forces of Ukraine there are still about 6,000 Russian Military and 40,000 separatists in the occupied territories of the Luhansk and Donetsh.