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It's been two years since Russia invaded the Ukraine

When, on February 24th 2022, Russia launched an invasion offensive into Ukraine, the world believed that the conflict would end quickly. However, as this conflict enters its third year, prospects for its resolution appear slim. As of today, 18% of Ukrainian territory is occupied by Russia and more than 6.4 million Ukrainians are refugees. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are over 3.7 million internally displaced people.

The triumphs turned into wear and tear for Ukraine along the front lines in the east of the country. With Russia gaining the upper hand and shortages of goods, ammunition and military personnel, there are many doubts about whether Kyiv will be able to carry on. Solidarity seems to be decreasing, with the international community tending to press for a resolution of the conflict and the signing of an agreement, even if it is unfair. Ukraine depends on Western allies and international organizations not only for military backing but also for financial support and humanitarian aid, and despite the support promised by the EU and the United States, the United Nations and its agencies state they need more than 3.1 billion dollars to meet the basic needs of 8.5 million Ukrainians living on the front lines.

Two years in, it is important to focus on what matters most: the people displaced by war. As the temporary protection measures activated by EU Member States, which provided for the stay of Ukrainian citizens for a maximum of two years, approach their end, it is essential to reflect on the support to be given to displaced populations. This measure, created by the European Commission in 2001, serves the purpose of providing immediate and temporary protection in the event of a massive or imminent influx of displaced people from third countries who are unable to return to their country of origin.

As the months turn into years, and displaced people begin to settle in the countries that welcomed them, it is important to create policies so that they can remain in their new homes, always keeping the development of humane policies in perspective, respectful of the dignity and social justice of those who have lost so much.

Sandbags barricade a street in Odesa in March 2022, and the same location in February 2024.

Photos by Bulent Kilic (2022) e Oleksandr Gimanov/AFP via Getty Images

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