Ukraine: still in solidarity, two years on

By Minaz Kerawala, Communications and Public Relations Advisor

I know the truth! Renounce all others!
There’s no need for anyone to fight.
For what? – Poets, generals, lovers?
Look: it’s evening, look: almost night.

Ah, the wind drops, earth is wet with dew,
Ah, the snow will freeze the stars that move.
And soon, under the earth, we’ll sleep too,
Who never would let each other sleep above.*

Two years after they invaded Ukraine, one wishes Russian authorities had heeded these poignant verses that their compatriot poet Marina Tsvetaeva had penned back in 1915. Because their choices have resulted in horrifying numbers of innocents ending up “asleep under the earth.”

Ukraine: two years of terror and tears

The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission reports that over 10,500 Ukrainians (including 587 children) have been killed; over 19,800 have been injured; and 1,072 educational institutions and 485 medical facilities have been damaged or destroyed. Disturbingly, the report warns, “The actual extent of civilian harm – both casualties and infrastructure damage – is likely considerably higher.”

According to the International Institute of Migration, nearly a third of the Ukrainian population has been forced to flee, with 3.7 million people being displaced within the country and 6.5 million ending up as refugees abroad.

Such is the tragedy that compelled Pope Francis to write to the Ukrainian people, “I would like to add my own tears to yours…. Your pain is my pain.” He acknowledged, “The pain felt by the mothers of Ukraine is incalculable.”

Ukraine: two years of strength and solidarity

As it often does, adversity has brought forth phenomenal strength in the stricken. To his people, Fr. Vyacheslav Grynevych, executive director of Caritas-Spes Ukraine, said, “I address you with a heartfelt acknowledgment of our collective ability to transmute the pain we have endured into love.”

The war in Ukraine also unleashed a global wave of solidarity. Development and Peace ― Caritas Canada immediately condemned the invasion and allocated $75,000 to help with emergency relief efforts. Canadians responded with characteristic generosity to our call for donations.

Thus far, we have raised over $2.1 million from donors, and Quebec’s ministère des Relations internationales et de la Francophonie has provided a grant of $200,000.

Ukraine: a year of results

Over the past year, we have deployed $922,424.55 in projects and programs through which our partners, Caritas Ukraine, Caritas-Spes Ukraine, Caritas Czechia, Caritas Slovakia and CAFOD have provided:

  • Food and non-food items to 3,793,578 people
  • Shelter-related goods and services to 638,452 people
  • Water, sanitation and hygiene services to 1,578,694 people
  • Protection services to 388,979 people
  • Cash assistance to 107,594 people
  • Education support to 8,898 people
  • Health services to 194,291 people
  • Mental health and psychosocial services to 8,491 people

Ukraine: messages from our partners

Tetiana Stawnytchy, President, Caritas Ukraine
Fr. Vyacheslav Grynevych, Executive Director, Caritas-Spes Ukraine

Ukraine : an enduring engagement

Unfortunately, there is little evidence of lasting peace on the horizon. In fact, as Pope Francis noted in a recent letter to Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the Primate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, “In an increasingly dramatic international context, the one in Ukraine risks becoming a ‘forgotten’ war. It is our duty, instead, not to allow silence to fall over it, not simply to keep alive the horror in the face of such tragic facts, but above all to commit all those who have responsibility and the international community to the search for peaceful solutions.”

Having endured unspeakable horrors for two years, the people of Ukraine still need our prayers, our solidarity and our support. We renew our resolve to ensure they are not forgotten.

* Translated from the Russian original by A.S. Kline (

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