«Pope for Ukraine»: Humanitarian Aid from Vatican to Ukraine in the Face of Russian Aggression

Olha Sukhobokova

Ph.D. (History), Associate Professor

Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Kyiv, Ukraine

ORCID: 0000-0002-4140-3231

ResearcherID W-1566-2019

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17721/2524-048X.2020.16.13

Abstract. The purpose of the article is a comprehensive review of the action of humanitarian aid «Pope for Ukraine», which was held by the Vatican to support Ukraine during the Russian aggression in 2016–2018.

The methodology of scientific research is based on general scientific and special historical methods, taking into account the basic principles of historical knowledge: historicism, science, objectivity,systematization. The principles of historicism and science have made it possible to recreate the circumstances and the process of raising funds and providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine by the Vatican. The principle of objectivity allowed us to critically analyze the source base, which was based on publications in the Ukrainian-language and Italian-language press and online publications. The principle of systematization allowed us to form a holistic picture of the Vatican’s assistance to Ukrainian citizens affected by hostilities in the east of the country.

The scientific novelty of the work is that for the first time, on the basis of a wide source base, the reasons, course and results of the Vatican’s humanitarian action «Pope for Ukraine» are comprehensively considered. The author concludes that the assistance under the program was provided to the Ukrainian population in the frontline territories and the territory not controlled by Ukraine, in a number of regions of Ukraine, where migrants from the war-torn Luhansk and Donetsk moved. It was implemented by the technical committee and the secretariat both through partner organizations and certain local projects (for example, the reconstruction of social facilities in frontline cities), and provided targeted to families or individuals. The main areas of the assistance were solving urgent household problems of migrants and the population near and along the front line (heating and insulation of the house in winter, clothing), medical services and medicines, food, drinking water, basic necessities etc. Priority was given to children, large families, retirees, people with disabilities and other most vulnerable groups. In total, more than 881,000 Ukrainians were covered by the Vatican help during the whole period of the action. At the same time, the article focuses on the political and diplomatic significance of the «Pope for Ukraine» campaign, which has become a powerful signal to the European Union and the world to support Ukraine and counter Russian armed aggression.

Key words: «Pope for Ukraine», Pope Francis, Vatican, Ukraine, humanitarian aid, migrants, Russian aggression.

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