Ukraine crisis two years on: latest news and Red Cross response

How the Red Cross is helping people affected by the current situation in Ukraine, since the start of the conflict.

Last updated 23 February 2024

The latest news on the situation in Ukraine

It's been over two years since the conflict in Ukraine first escalated. During this time, 10 million have fled their homes and he humanitarian situation is the worst Europe has seen in decades.

For many in Ukraine, there is a new normal. Life on high alert, seeking safety in basements and subway stations, power blackouts and disrupted healthcare and schooling. For many, basics such as food and water are very expensive or hard to come by.

And as temperatures drop below zero, people will need warm shelter, clothing, fuel and insulation, and support for additional heating costs.

Damage to energy infrastructure may also leave communities without power or electricity. Vulnerable communities such as displaced people, older and disabled people, will be most at risk. 

Help us continue to support Ukraine

Thanks to donations from the British people - as well as the time and dedication of thousands of staff and volunteers - teams from our Movement have so far supported over 18 million people impacted by the conflict in Ukraine.

As the cold sets in, this will include distributing blankets and sleeping bags, helping to heat homes and sheltering those forced to flee their homes.


Red Cross impact in Ukraine

In total, 60 Red Cross and Red Crescent societies from around the world have been involved in the humanitarian response, including 13,000 volunteers.

The response has included:

  • 18 million people have received basics such as blankets, hygiene items, food and water
  • Over 15.2 million people have received better access to clean water
  • 2.2 million people have received shelter
  • 1.9 million people have received cash assistance for essential items
  • Over 1.2 million people have received primary health services
  • 1.2 million people have received mental health and psychosocial support
  • 7,800 people have been reached with information on the fate of their missing loved ones

What's happening in Ukraine in 2024?

Over the course of the conflict, thousands of civilians have died and been injured, and millions of people have left Ukraine or are internally displaced.

People inside the country are still in need of urgent life-saving assistance. Many internally displaced people and refugees are dealing with poor living conditions and often cannot afford food and other essentials or seek medical treatment.

The conflict in Ukraine has also severely strained the healthcare system across the country. Limited healthcare capacity coupled with living conditions increase the risk of infectious respiratory illnesses such as influenza, measles, and Covid-19.

There has also been significant damage to infrastructure and crucial supply chains, restricting access to vital services and goods in many parts of Ukraine.

As the fighting continues, including in urban areas, more people will be impacted by the horrors of armed conflict and more lives will be lost.

The Red Cross on the current situation in Ukraine: "People need our support" 

Latest on the Ukraine Crisis Appeal

Volunteers from the Ukrainian Red Cross Society speak about the support they are providing to people across the country during the crisis


Duration of video: 1 MINUTE

What are the most urgent needs for people in Ukraine right now

Now temperatures have dropped below zero, needs have become more pronounced. People will need warm shelter, clothing, fuel and insulation, and support for additional heating costs.

We are also concerned for the millions of people who have fled their homes since the conflict escalated and for the hundreds of thousands of people who remain in their homes and have no food, no water, no heat, no electricity, and no medical care.

Many children in Ukraine are bearing the brunt of the conflict. Their education has been impacted or stalled all together. 

We are working with local branches to run children’s clubs and support groups to provide respite and connect people to each other. We are supporting two accessible playgrounds to be built for children in two regions near the conflict.

Medical care in Ukraine has also been severely impacted. Medical facilities have been damaged or destroyed, and there's a shortage of medicines and available treatments.

The impact of the crisis in Ukraine will be felt far beyond the end of this conflict. Supporting people’s mental health is also a priority.

What challenges are people who fled to neighbouring countries facing?

As the conflict continues, those who fled to other countries face further uncertainty and hardship.

Many are still living in temporary shelter, and we know that staying with host families is unlikely to be a viable long-term solution for many.

Now winter is here, people need warm shelter, clothing, fuel and insulation, and support for additional heating costs. We are working alongside local partners and authorities to ensure support for those impacted through the winter months.

And securing longer-term security, such as rented accommodation, without employment contracts is extremely challenging. Language barriers also complicate the likelihood of people getting hired.

How is the Red Cross supporting in Ukraine?

The Ukrainian Red Cross Society (URCS) is the lead humanitarian organisation in Ukraine, and since the onset of this conflict, is being supported by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to step up its response.

The Ukraine Red Cross Society has more than doubled its numbers of volunteers since this conflict began. Emergency Response Teams have been providing support to emergency services since the outset of this conflict and, in coordination with local authorities, continue to evacuate people to safer areas.

URCS have also introduced Mobile Medical Crews. These teams are reaching people in hard-to-reach areas with medical support, working alongside Ukrainian primary health care providers.

Volunteers are also taking people to hospital, donating, and transporting medical supplies URCS is also helping people to regain contact with relatives through their hotline and outreach services.

As part of scaling up its response, the Ukrainian Red Cross Society is also providing emergency financial assistance to people within Ukraine.

How has the British Red Cross supported the response in Ukraine?

The British Red Cross launched an appeal on 24 February 2022, the day the fighting escalated. The funds generously donated by the British public to our Ukraine Crisis Appeal allowed us to respond immediately.

We have been working through the Movement by funding programmes and deploying technical expertise to assist the Ukrainian Red Cross Society, IFRC, and ICRC, both within Ukraine and in neighbouring countries.

To date, the British Red Cross has deployed more than 50 aid workers, to support the Ukrainian Red Cross Society and neighbouring National Societies.

Since then, the British Red Cross has established a country office in Ukraine, based out of Kyiv and upon the request of the Ukrainian Red Cross. 

"This modular housing will save lives"

Watch chief executive, British Red Cross, Beatrice Butsana-Sita at the opening of a modular housing unit for vulnerable people in the Chernihiv oblast.

Duration of video: 01:03

From here, we provide continued support in several key areas where we have strong expertise. This includes financial assistance to displaced people, health, home care for vulnerable people, and others.

Funds from our appeal are still being used to support the humanitarian response in Ukraine and the border countries, as well as to help those arriving in the UK.

The British Red Cross also works across the whole Movement to fund, advise and support programmes that will support as many people impacted by this conflict, as possible. 

Help us support people in Ukraine

The funds donated by the incredibly generous public here in the UK, are being used to support the humanitarian response in Ukraine and the border countries, as well as to help those arriving in the UK.

Your donation could provide:

  • £1 - 100 chlorine tablets to ensure that families have access to clean, safe water
  • £5 - 600 chlorine tablets to ensure that families have access to clean, safe water
  • £9 - a tarpaulin to offer shelter to a family who have fled their home
  • £9.70 - a hygiene kit to a family of 5, giving them the supplies to stay healthy for a month
  • £10 - 1,200 chlorine tablets to ensure that families have access to clean, safe water

The Red Cross has never needed you more

Whether it’s Ukraine, Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories, or here in the UK, there has never been a more important time to support the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.