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Group of volunteers collecting donations for Ukrainian refugees

Quelle stratégie pour l’aide civile en Ukraine ? Études de l'Ifri, June 2022

Ukrainian institutions have overall withstood the shock of the war: the central government and local authorities benefit from a real legitimacy and a solid ability to govern.


In this context, priority should be given to strengthening the existing institutional system rather than creating new institutions or introducing international NGOs (apart from those with highly targeted skills).

In the most affected regions, the successful organization of local authorities is an asset to be used. Supported by governors, they play a major role in delivering aid to the front line. Nevertheless, town halls have already largely evacuated their staff, especially in the Donbass. Despite financial support from the Ukrainian government, they can no longer guarantee their budget due to a lack of local incomes. In order to strengthen municipal institutions and ensure the continuity of their services, aid should be redeployed from (relatively) stable and safe cities (Dnipro, Pavlograd).

Finally, voluntary associations play a key role in the redistribution of aid and the evacuation of civilians. However, these associations struggle to structure themselves effectively in order to ensure their sustainability. Although essential to the society’s resilience and the frontline’s logistics, volunteers are now exhausted. One of the measures to consider would be to pay the permanent staff of these associations. It is essential that aid arrives before the summer to avoid the demobilization of volunteers due to the drop in private donations. This would allow the professionalization of associations and strengthen their ability to obtain more international funding, crucial to displaced people or emergency food distribution. The collapse of civil-military institutions caused by the humanitarian crisis and the lack of international aid in the combat zones would hinder the logistics on which the Ukrainian army depends to hold the front. Much of the current resistance on the eastern front depends on the strength of supply chains and the ability of local administrations to continue their efforts to coordinate volunteer networks.


This content is available in French: "Quelle stratégie pour l’aide civile en Ukraine ?"

Civil Aid humanitarian crisis Humanitarian Volunteering War in Ukraine Ukraine