Kiev requests emergency EU assistance – European commissioner

Urgent call for medical aid comes hours after Russian forces attacked Ukrainian military facilities

European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic confirmed on Thursday that “Ukraine has submitted an urgent request for medical aid items via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.” The request comes hours after Russian forces attacked the country’s military facilities.

Addressing European member states, Lenarcic called on countries across the bloc and “participating states to immediately respond with offers of assistance,” declaring that “the time to help is now.”

Russian forces crossed Ukraine’s borders on Thursday, with the Defense Ministry in Moscow confirming that its armed forces are attacking Ukraine’s military infrastructure as part of an ongoing operation in the country. A statement reported by RIA Novosti quoted the ministry as saying that weapons were being used to target military objects, air defense sites, military airfields, and aircraft. 

In response, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared martial law across the country, confirming that the nation’s military sites had been attacked, urging citizens to remain calm and not to leave their homes. Zelensky pledged that his country would remain “strong” and “defeat anyone.”

The EU Civil Protection Mechanism was established in October 2001 to strengthen cooperation between member states and participating nations “to improve prevention, preparedness and response to disasters.” Nations can request assistance when “an emergency overwhelms the response capabilities of a country in Europe and beyond.”

Previous uses of the mechanism have been to respond to the Covid pandemic across Europe and globally, fighting forest fires in the Mediterranean, Western Balkans and Austria, repatriating people from Afghanistan, and offering aid after an earthquake and hurricane in Haiti.

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