New Belgian aid package approved for Ukraine
Upon the proposal of Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib and Minister of Development Cooperation Caroline Gennez, the Council of Ministers approved a new financial support package for Ukraine on 16 June 2023. These include support of NATO initiatives for Ukraine and Moldova, the UN Fund to Support Women's Organizations, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Trust Fund for Victims of the International Criminal Court. In terms of humanitarian needs, Belgium supports multilateral organizations, including UN agencies that provide basic services to the population on the ground, notably victims of the recent floods following the dam break near Cherson.
Belgium's policy to support Ukraine is strongly embedded in multilateral cooperation with its partners and allies. With these new contributions, Belgium is fulfilling its commitments towards Ukraine and its international partners.
To equip Ukraine to defend itself against Russian aggression, assistance to the Ukrainian armed forces remains a priority. NATO has gathered the various existing instruments for non-lethal support to Ukraine into the Comprehensive Assistance Package Ukraine (CAP) Trust Fund. Belgium will make a new contribution of 1.5 million euros towards this effort.
The Russian aggression has also led to a blatant decline in the security situation in Ukraine's neighboring countries and primarily Moldova. Belgium will transfer to the NATO Defense Capacity Building (DCB) Trust Fund a contribution of 1 million euros to reinforce the Moldovan armed forces' defenses against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons.
Belgium is an international pioneer as a promoter of women's rights worldwide and wants to carry out this role in Ukraine and Moldova as well. This will be done through a new contribution of 600,000 euros to the United Nations “Women's Peace and Humanitarian Fund” (WPHF), a partnership between the UN and civil society. Belgium also intends to further support the fight against impunity by making a new contribution of 500,000 euros to the International Criminal Court, and in particular to the Court's Trust Fund for Victims
Nuclear safety in Ukraine is at risk due to hostilities near nuclear facilities. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) plays a crucial role in ensuring nuclear safety in Ukraine. Belgium will support IAEA activities in Ukraine with a contribution of €1 million.
Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib: "Through multilateral funding, Belgium continues to support Ukraine in its struggle for self-defense. And more than that: we do not only want to help the Ukrainian people defend themselves - we also want to help them alleviate as much as possible the consequences of the war, the deep wounds that have been inflicted. One way we do this is by paying special attention to the victims of war, especially women who have been victims of violence. Belgian aid is and will continue to be aimed at giving people back access to basic services and a roof over their heads, access to medicines, hospitals that can remain open, clean potable water and food. Schools are being rebuilt and equipped with shelters so that children can return to school. Part of the aid will also be used for the victims of the recent floods".
The destruction in Ukraine, and its impact on Ukrainian families, touched us all. Since the start of the war, the Russian military has caused more than 135 billion euros worth of material damage in the country : countless homes, hospitals and schools lie in ruins. One in five Ukrainians still have difficulty accessing care or medicine since the invasion. Close to the front lines, that figure even rises to one in three. Nearly half of Ukrainian children are missing classes at school due to the effects of the war. Russian attacks are also targeting utilities, leaving millions without running water or heat. Russia is targeting the Ukrainian people in hopes of undermining their morale. And now to add to that comes the humanitarian and ecological disaster in Cherson.
Given the growing humanitarian needs, a new aid package of €24 million will be provided. This will go mainly to international aid agencies, which are already present on the ground, such as the UN humanitarian crisis agency (OCHA), the World Food Program (WFP), UNICEF, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). This package is in addition to the €61.5 million in humanitarian aid provided by Belgium in 2022.
Minister of Development Cooperation Caroline Gennez: "The consequences of the war in Ukraine - including the Cherson disaster - will linger for the years to come. The humanitarian needs remain enormous. The coordinated attacks on water pipes, energy infrastructure, hospitals and schools aim to make daily life impossible for ordinary Ukrainians. Despite all the misery, they are bravely fighting on - for us all as well. Europe will not be safe until Ukraine is safe. With this new support, we are helping the Ukrainians to persevere. We will remain in solidarity with the Ukrainian people for as long as necessary".