The discussions have been focused on the cumulative consequences of the six-year conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic on people and communities on both sides of the contact line in the Donbas.
Mr Maurer addressed the issue of people missing in connection with the conflict and establishment of the Commission on Missing Persons, access to water and health services as well as perspectives on the risks for the population of mines and other unexploded ordinance. The ICRC president has been also seeking for prospects for securing the systematic and unhindered access of the ICRC to all detainees held in connection with the conflict in the Donbas. Furthermore, he reiterated the need for mechanisms to allow safe passage of civilians with urgent humanitarian needs across the line of contact during COVID-19 pandemic.
Water, electricity and gas installations have always been particularly vulnerable in the conflict and the ICRC has been investing many resources in maintaining the water supply systems. Mr Maurer visited one of the filtrations stations of the Voda Donbasa company that supplies water to people living on both sides of the contact line in the Donetsk Region. The ICRC has so far invested over 15.5 million CHF in maintaining and servicing both water supply companies in the Donbas.
The ICRC president also visited construction sites of health facilities on both sides of the contact line. He saw Gorlovka ambulatory and laid the foundation stone to the first Emergency Health Care Department in Ukraine that the ICRC is building in the Bakhmut hospital, which will serve 200,000 people. The ICRC is investing 3.5 million CHF in building the department, equipping it and training its staff.
Support to people caught in the Donbas conflict is ICRC’s 8th largest operation in the world. This has been Mr Maurer’s third visit to Ukraine as the ICRC president. The first took place in February 2015 and the second in March 2017.