Ukraine – The Ukrainian Red Cross has been responding to unrest in Ukraine since its onset in November 2013. In particular during the period of violent clashes between protesters and government security forces and police between February 18 and 21, Red Cross emergency response teams worked around the clock, providing first aid to the wounded from both sides and transporting them to hospitals. During the most intense three days, the Red Cross provided first aid to more than 660 people—both protesters and members of the security forces.
The Ukrainian Red Cross’s response has continued with the ouster of the former president and change to an opposition-led government during the days between February 21 and 27. At present, with Russian troops positioned in Crimea and the threat of open hostilities between Russian and Ukrainian military forces, as well as continued unrest among the population of Ukraine in many localities, Red Cross response teams remain on duty day and night, continuing to perform emergency health and first aid activities.
Immediate priorities are to ensure the availability of emergency and first aid kits across the country, support training and movement of volunteers, and provide logistical assistance to local Red Cross responders.
It is critical that all parties understand the role and impartiality of Red Cross volunteers. During clashes in Kyiv, six Red Cross volunteers were injured. In addition to providing psychosocial support to volunteers, the Ukrainian Red Cross has distributed materials about Red Cross emblem use and protection through leaflets, mass media, and liaising with local medical facilities.