Today, we mark one year since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The struggle of Ukrainian people goes on, and the continuous EU support to Ukraine is of utmost importance. We recognise that the crisis is far from over and it is important to help Ukraine cope with the harsh conditions where more than 17 million people need humanitarian aid and Russia continues bombardment of civilian infrastructure.
The war has transformed Europe and the way all of us see the Eastern borders, which have not experienced any events of this scale in recent times.
Frontex stands with Ukraine and continues to provide support within our mandate. From the first days of the invasion, the agency has been supporting both EU Member States affected with the migratory flows, as well as our neighbours. The agency activated a crisis response mechanism and established a dedicated crisis response team which operates 24/7. Through this mechanism, Frontex provides regular updates to the Member States and the EU institutions on the situation at border crossing points and monitors refugee flows to support awareness, border control activities, including facilitation of border crossings, and evacuation corridors.
Russia’s attack on Ukraine forced millions of Ukrainians, especially women and children, to flee their homeland. Over the year, almost 15 million Ukrainian citizens arrived in the European Union and roughly 3 million chose to stay.
Coming with a helping hand to the Member States affected the most by the record number of refugees at EU’s doorsteps, Frontex provided hundreds of standing corps officers and equipment to support them at their borders with Ukraine. Even more Frontex officers arrived in Moldova as soon as the EU signed an agreement on border management cooperation, to assist the neighbour that received the highest number of Ukrainian refugees per capita.
The agency had about 500 standing corps officers working along the eastern border from Finland to Romania, including more than 350 officers working at the EU-Ukraine borders.
Our support for Ukraine is not waning. In January, Frontex and the State Border Guard Service have signed a grant agreement worth 12 million euros to support Ukrainian border officers in performing their duties.
The grant covers a list of equipment, such as warm winter uniforms for border guards, electric generators, portable power stations, field kitchens, patrol vehicles, or pumps. With this financing, the equipment will be used for civilian border management purposes at Ukraine’s Western borders with EU Member States and Moldova and in its proximity. This will also prepare the State Border Guard Service to potentially host Frontex joint operations in the future.