New Agreements Between the Regions of Ukraine and Europe Will Strengthen Protection and International Security. Ukraine Is Strong with the Support of Its Allies

Within the framework of the Congress of local and regional authorities under the President of Ukraine, the 2nd International Summit of Cities and Regions was held in Kyiv on 8-9 of May 2024. As last year, the event was held under the slogan “As strong as united” with the participation of more than 250 representatives of Ukrainian and foreign local communities. They were gathered together for joint partnership, mutual support, exchange of experience in defeating the Russian aggressor and restoring Ukraine, establishing and guaranteeing peace and security.

The Summit was attended by foreign delegations from the USA, Austria, Germany, Italy, Belgium, France, Denmark, Poland, Canada, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Moldova, as well as representatives of the Council of Europe and the European Committee of the Regions. The main topics of the event were:

  • reconstruction and development of communities now and after the war;
  • internally displaced persons: a humanitarian challenge;
  • rehabilitation of war victims: medical, psychological and social aspects.

Foreign delegations visited the deoccupied territories of Ukraine to see the consequences of Russian aggression, occupation and hostilities. After all, the Kremlin does not stop its daily shelling of peaceful Ukrainian cities even for a day. According to official data, Russia’s aggression has led to the deaths of about 10 thousand civilians, and more than 13 thousand people were injured. According to juvenile prosecutors, 1,751 children suffered, of which 527 children died, 1,224 were injured of varying degrees of severity. The troops of the Russian Federation destroyed or damaged (as of February 2024) about 200 thousand houses, more than 3,300 educational institutions (265 of them destroyed), 1,718 medical facilities (195 destroyed), 154 social institutions. Thus, the occupying Russian Federation violates the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, shelling energy infrastructure, housing, educational and medical institutions, seeking to create a humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine, sow chaos and panic among the population.

The delegation saw the real picture of the war and the destruction after the invasion of Russian occupiers in the Kyiv and Chernihiv regions. At the same time, the summit participants saw newly-built housing, new centers for socio-psychological rehabilitation, and medical centers – as a result of the assistance and cooperation of partners, the foundation of which were laid at the last year’s summit.

As a result of the international summit, Ukraine signed agreements with Western partners on the restoration of cities and provision of medical assistance. “Four cluster medical packages, agreements between the Kyiv region and the state of Washington, also with the state of Utah. There is an example of Austria and Zaporizhzhia, Ivano-Frankivsk region, a very expanded geography. There are memorandums, framework agreements, the implementation of which is just beginning,” the Executive Secretary of the Presidium of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Deputy Head of the Presidential Office, Oleksiy Kuleba said. The Minister of Health of Ukraine Viktor Lyashko also took part in the signing ceremony. Memorandums on international medical partnership were signed between medical institutions of Ukraine and Germany, Moldova, and Romania.

Why is international medical partnership so necessary? Russia’s war against Ukraine has led to significant challenges in the healthcare sector and an increase in the number of physical and mental injuries. The International Medical Partnership is an initiative for international cooperation at the level of specific health care institutions. Its goal is to create long-term mutually beneficial partnerships aimed at strengthening the technical, expert, scientific and managerial potential of specific institutions. They form a wealthy network of health care institutions capable to unite shared experience into the best global practices in providing psychological and rehabilitation assistance to victims of Russian military aggression. The International Medical Partnership Initiative was launched during the Third Summit of First Ladies and Gentlemen in Kyiv on September 6, 2023. It envisages direct cooperation between Ukrainian clinics and foreign medical institutions.

Participants of the 2nd International Summit of Cities and Regions condemned the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine, emphasizing the catastrophic destruction of social, critical, energy and industrial infrastructure. Many schools, kindergartens, hospitals, sports facilities, cultural heritage, residential buildings and residential areas were destroyed in the Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Zhytomyr, Zaporizhzhia, Kyiv, Luhansk, Mykolaiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, Kherson and Chernihiv regions. The Kremlin’s actions also caused irreparable damage to the environment and the ecological situation in Ukraine and Europe as a whole, including the Black and Azov Seas.

“We must do everything possible, and quickly − and fairly end this Russian war, which continues on the territory of Ukraine, but targets the whole of Europe, European unity, and the entire European project,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized following the Summit. In turn, the President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola said that the EU had been standing with Ukrainians since the beginning of the full-scale invasion and would continue to help in every possible way, would condemn the aggressor, would adopt sanctions against the Kremlin, and would bring all those involved in war crimes to justice. “ We will return and we will rebuild together, because Ukraine is Europe, and Europe is Ukraine,” she emphasized.