Kyiv (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) extends its warmest congratulations to the Ukrainian Red Cross Society (URCS) on the occasion of its one-hundredth anniversary. On 18 April 1918, the URCS was established in Kyiv as an independent humanitarian society of the Ukrainian People’s Republic. Over the century since the founding congress, the URCS has grown into a well-recognized humanitarian organization in Ukraine that provides assistance and well-being to those who need help across the entire country.  With the national headquarters in Kyiv, 24 regional branches and the Kyiv city branch, the URCS today is a truly nationwide organization.

“The Ukrainian Red Cross Society has been a partner of the International Committee of the Red Cross for years. With the conflict in eastern Ukraine now entering into its fifth year, and high numbers of people in need of assistance, close cooperation of our two organizations is as important as ever. On this special occasion, I wish our friends at the URCS to continue building a successful, efficient and modern organization. They can count on our strong support in that process, particularly now that they are in a transition and implementing deep reforms” said Alain Aeschlimann, head of the ICRC’s delegation in Ukraine.

The cooperation between the URCS and the ICRC has been steadily developing in several areas since the opening of the ICRC delegation in Ukraine in 2014. Over the past year, for example, more than half a million people visited the Red Cross heating/cooling points on both sides of the bridge at Stanytsia Luhanska, where they were assisted by dozens of local Red Cross volunteers. Furthermore, close to 5,000 people were helped by the Ukrainian Red Cross Society’s home-visiting nurses in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and hundreds Red Cross volunteers participated in the implementation of various joint activities with the ICRC in the field, which included delivering humanitarian food and hygiene parcels, repairing damaged houses, promoting mine risk awareness and providing psychosocial support.

The ICRC and the URCS are both integral parts of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the largest humanitarian network in the world. Guided with the principles of neutrality and impartiality, the Movement, which consists of the ICRC, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and 191 National Societies, provides assistance to victims of natural disasters and armed conflicts.  The ICRC, the International Federation and the National Societies are independent bodies, with each having its own individual status and exercising no authority over the others.