Many countries are providing Ukraine with considerable aid, but much of it remains out of the public domain or dissolves in a multitude of news reports.
One of the countries whose weighty aid is worth our attention is Romania, which has been supporting and helping Ukrainians in every way possible since the first days of the war. It is one of the leading countries in transporting US lend-lease cargoes to Ukraine and the third largest transit country for the delivery of weapons and equipment.
Since the first days of the war, President Klaus Iohannis has assured Kyiv of Romania’s full support for Ukraine’s integration with the EU. During his recent meeting in Kyiv with Volodymyr Zelensky, Lohannis assured him that Romania wants Ukraine to become an EU candidate in the shortest possible time.
Moreover, in order to provide Ukraine with lethal weapons from Romanian reserves, the Defense Ministry initiated amendments to the government resolution that would enable arms to be supplied not only to NATO countries but also to the Alliance’s allies and partners.
Romania possesses several dozen MiG-21 and Lancer fighter jets, plus 15 MiG-29 fighters which it does not use but could hand over to Ukraine. Romanian government officials also actively promote efforts for delivering US-made М142 HIMARS to Ukraine. In addition to ammunition, bulletproof vests, and helmets, Romania supplies Ukraine with fuel, medical equipment, and disinfectants. Truckloads of humanitarian aid also arrive in Ukraine on a regular basis.
Since the first days of Russia’s invasion, the Romanian government and the Romanian community in Bukovyna, southwestern Ukraine, have been sending weapons, foodstuffs, and other essentials to the Ukrainian soldiers fighting on the front lines.
In addition, volunteers have established an aid point at the Porubne border crossing where Ukrainian refugees are provided with everything they need – from food and clothing to transport and accommodation. Romania has accepted more than 800,000 Ukrainian refugees who are free to enter the country through any official border crossing points.
Via the non-governmental organization ‘Code for Romania’, created in partnership with the Romanian Interior Ministry’s Emergency Situations Dept., the International Organization for Migration, and the National Council on Refugee Affairs, civilians fleeing the war in Ukraine and seeking refuge in Romania can find all the necessary information they require. Ukrainians can also get secondary, high, and higher education in Romania, with teaching in the Ukrainian language available at 45 schools and five universities.
The Romanian government has also offered Ukrainians free public transport and medical services, launched special child support programs, and expanded job opportunities for Ukrainians. Now, Ukrainians are not required to obtain a separate employment permit if they are to stay in the country for less than nine months.
Ukrainian refugees get substantial help from the local Association of Ukrainians, which accommodates them on its own premises as well as in villages and towns with ethnic Ukrainian communities, and also from numerous NGOs, churches, owners of hotels, and ordinary Romanians across the country.
Volunteers actively organize a variety of fundraising and charity events. During a concert at the National Arena in Bucharest, more than €750,000 was raised for aiding Ukrainians.
In order to facilitate Ukrainian refugees’ transit via Romania, flights to Moldova have now resumed. The government has also stated its readiness to treat wounded Ukrainian soldiers at Romanian hospitals.
The EU designated Romania as a hub for civilian aid to Ukraine.This aid, once collected in the EU, gets to Ukraine through border crossing points, and the charity organization Help Ukraine has recently opened a humanitarian center in the town of Khust, Transcarpathian region, for aiding Ukraine’s southern regions. Another aid center located in Suceava, Romania, regularly receives trucks with humanitarian aid as along with medical and fire vehicles from Romania and other EU countries.
Romanian Transport Minister Sorin Grindeanu has announced major repairs of railway tracks between the Moldovan village of Giurgiulesti and Romania’s port of Galati for transporting Ukrainian grain and other exports.
Currently, political discussions are underway over the proposed use of Romania’s port of Constanta for Ukrainian exports during the blockage of Ukrainian seaports. Romania is also actively cooperating with Turkey in demining the Black Sea, and has closed its seaports to Russian ships, and closed its airspace and airports to Russian air companies.
It is worth mentioning that one of the first EU officials to visit Ukraine after Russia’s invasion was Codruta Kovesi, former chief of Romania’s Anticorruption Directorate. Kovesi came to Kyiv to discuss interaction between EU prosecutors and the special task team of the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office in searching for, arresting, and confiscating assets of war criminals. The Romanian leadership headed by President Klaus Iohannis has called for investigating the Bucha tragedy and bringing all the guilty to justice.
Back on February 23, Romania condemned Russia’s recognition of the self-proclaimed separatist “republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk. Soon afterwards, Romania’s representatives to the United Nations decided to advocate for Ukraine in the UN International Criminal Court in the Ukraine vs Russia case concerning genocide.
Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu said in a press statement on Friday, 22 April, following consultations with Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Bucharest: “I reiterated Romania’s firm support for the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity of Ukraine, as well as for the heroic effort of the Ukrainian authorities, of the Ukrainian citizens to repel the Russian aggression, which is a flagrant violation of all international obligations assumed by Russia. Ukraine must win this war and I am convinced it will win it.”
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