What’s Happening in Ukraine?

16 March 2022

Baskets of food and other miscellaneous necessities sit in front of a fence with a crowd of people behind it.
Ukranian refugees arrive in Romania fleeing violence in their country. They are welcomed by JRS staff and volunteers who give out first necessities. Image Credit: Sergi Camara/Entreculturas

What happened?
The most recent multi-prong military invasion of Ukraine marks just the latest in Russian aggression against Ukraine and its national sovereignty and territorial integrity.  In 2014, Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine for its strategic access to the Black Sea and Russia continues to support pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas region of Ukraine. Violence has again erupted throughout the country, threatening the security and safety of millions of people.

How many people have become refugees or displaced?

The latest report from UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is that 12 million refugees have now fled their homes with five million into neighboring countries, and nearly seven million internally displaced. UNHCR has also reported that those numbers continue to increase by the hour and that millions of people could be at risk of displacement. Ukraine has been facing acute humanitarian crises as a result of Russian aggression. There are already 2.9 million people in need of humanitarian aid in Ukraine, of whom 1.6 million live in non-government-controlled areas (NGCAs), and more than 1.4 million are internally displaced.

What is JRS doing to respond?

While we hope that they will soon be able to return safely, JRS and the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) are mobilizing resources worldwide to provide immediate support in Ukraine and in neighboring countries. In Ukraine, Jesuits are helping and supporting internally displaced, even turning a retreat house into housing for those displaced. In Romania, JRS is providing support both in the centers for asylum seekers along the borders and to the people who are not in the centers, by providing welcome packages, acting as a mediator between private donors, government organizations and the people in need, supporting people to reach airports and train stations, providing accommodation in JRS’s own shelter and looking for more accommodation for people in need. In Poland, JRS is mobilizing to facilitate transportation for people from the borders as well as providing basic supplies and supporting people finding provisional accommodation through rental assistance. Additional support in the form of legal, administrative as well as psychological assistance is being organized.

For the latest update on JRS efforts in the region, please visit this page.

  • In Ukraine, Jesuits are hosting people who are fleeing their homes in the Jesuit refugee house in Lviv.
  • In Romania, JRS is supporting people arriving at reception centers along the border and providing shelter.
  • In Poland, JRS is providing basic supplies, and organizing legal, administrative, and psychological support.
  • In Hungary, JRS is providing food and medicines, as well as organizing longer-term accommodation support.
  • JRS offices in South-east Europe are also organizing to welcome and accommodate people feeling Ukraine.
  • JRS is monitoring the response of the European Union and advocating for fair welcome and protection of all people fleeing Ukraine.

Read the full statement from JRS Europe here.

For all resources to accompany, serve, and advocate, please visit this page.