As the war between Russia and Ukraine grinds on, the spigot draining billions of dollars into the hands of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky remains wide open.
Much of that support has come from the United Nations (UN), which Russian officials say has now provided more aid to Ukraine than the organization provided to Afghanistan during its protracted conflict with the U.S.
In 2023, the UN has given Ukraine more than $1.8 billion in aid, which is a billion dollars more than its assistance to Afghanistan, Russian Permanent representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya said.
“Remarkably, Ukraine still ranks first in terms of attracting donor attention. This year alone, the United Nations has already received $1.83 billion for humanitarian aid to Ukraine,” he told the UN Security Council.
Officials at the UN launched a Ukraine Humanitarian Fund, which solicits donations from people around the world to provide humanitarian relief on the ground. The fund is unearmarked and managed under UN leadership.
“This is $300 million more than what is requested to support the long-suffering population of Syria,” the Russian diplomat explained. “That is $1 billion more than the aid to the ordinary people of Afghanistan, who have experienced firsthand ‘experimental democratization’ by the United States and NATO.”
Nebenzya added, “Many of these people, as we know, are desperate and have to sell their body organs, and some families have to sell children for money to be able to feed the rest of the family. Some of our colleagues prefer not to talk about that.”
But, given forecasts that the conflict in Ukraine has no ending in sight in the near future, officials are expecting aid to continue.
A UN spokesperson said during a recent interview that it expects the situation in Ukraine to deteriorate, as Russian forces attack vital infrastructure.
“If the war continues, and it appears to be the case, the needs of the population will either continue, because they cannot recover and go back to the situation that they were before, or it increases,” Saviano Abreu, spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said during the interview.
“So, we can expect a deterioration of the humanitarian situation, if the pattern that we observed in the first six months of the year will continue,” he added.
Abreu says that the UN has prepared additional aid in the event of new attacks by Russian forces.