Crisis Severity The severity score from 1 to 5 is based on 31 indicators aggregated into 3 pillars (impact, conditions, and complexity)3.30 Very lowVery high 5
Impact This measures the impact of the crisis itself, in terms of the scope of its geographical, and human effects.2.30 Very lowVery high 5
Humanitarian Conditions This measures the conditions and status of the people affected, including info about the distribution of severity.4.00 Very lowVery high 5
Complexity This measures the complexity of the crisis, in terms of factors that affect its mitigation or resolution.2.70 Very lowVery high 5
Access Constraints This measures the level of humanitarian access constraints.3.0No constraintsExtreme constraints
Ukraine: Conflict in Donetsk and Luhansk
The conflict in Ukraine is largely fuelled by ethnic and political divisions surrounding Ukraine’s relationship with Russia. Protests against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych erupted in November 2013. A violent crackdown by state security forces followed, drawing more protesters. By May 2014, President Yanukovych had fled the country, the Russian military took over and formally annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region, and pro-Russian separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine declared independence, resulting in active conflict.?
Since 2014, more than 3,000 civilians have died, more than 7,000 have been injured, and approximately 1.5 million people have been displaced. Although the conflict has largely become a stalemate in recent years, clashes and shelling occur regularly, affecting 5.4 million people in eastern Ukraine, particularly those near the contact line that divides government-controlled areas (GCAs) and non-government-controlled areas (NGCAs).?
Despite multiple ceasefire agreements, violations are regularly reported and critical civilian infrastructure including water and electricity systems are frequently damaged. Shelling and landmine contamination, especially in NGCAs, limits the ability to deliver services such as infrastructure repair or emergency medical transportation. Older people are more likely to remain in these areas and are therefore disproportionally affected by isolation and limited access to WASH, healthcare, food, and livelihoods.?
INFORM measures Ukraine's risk of humanitarian crisis and disaster to be medium, at 4.6/10.?
There are no recent developments. This crisis is being monitored by our analysis team.
ACAPS' team is daily monitoring the impact of COVID-19. For more information on the impact of COVID-19 in Ukraine, see the relevant paragraph below.
Although the conflict in Eastern Ukraine has reached a stalemate in recent years, insecurity and administrative restrictions continue to constrain humanitarian access. The presence of landmines and indiscriminate shelling has restricted the movement of people and humanitarian agencies within non-government-controlled areas (NGCAs) in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts. Administrative requirements from both government and non-government authorities have delayed aid delivery and forced organisations to scale-back their programming, especially in NGCAs. Despite some improvements, conditions at entry-and-exit checkpoints at the Line of Contact (LoC) remain dire and complete closures of crossings between government and non-government areas restrict access to basic services and social benefits, especially for the elderly. Civilian infrastructure continues to be heavily affected by shelling.
Read more in the latest ACAPS Humanitarian Access Overview
WASH: Active conflict has damaged water treatment facilities, pipelines, and pumps and limits repairs. Water cuts, limited water treatment options, and inability to pay for hygiene products are common. Additionally, 81% of heating in Donetsk and Luhansk relies on water-based systems.?
Protection: Landmines and IEDs pose a significant risk, especially near the contact line, where up to 1 million crossings are recorded monthly, the majority are pensioners traveling to collect social payments. Checkpoints require vulnerable populations to stand for hours, exposed to natural elements and the most conflict-affected areas. Civil documentation issued by separatist authorities is not recognised by Ukraine, and around 57% of births in NGCAs are unregistered.?
Health: Power shortages, damaged infrastructure, and disruptions in water systems have affected the functioning of health facilities, especially in NGCAs. Many health professionals fled in 2015. Healthcare is characterised by high prices, medicine shortages, and outdated equipment. This is particularly concerning given that 30% of the population in conflict-affected areas are elderly and suffer from chronic diseases.?
Up-to-date information on needs in NGCAs of Luhansk and Donetsk is minimal as access is very limited.
Humanitarian needs assessments often focus on needs in GCAs and NGCAs of Luhansk and Donetsk while there is little information on needs in Crimea.
Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic
On 21 march, the Ukrainian Government imposed a special regime for crossing the contact line in the Donbass Region. Crossings between Government Controlled Areas (GCAs) and Non-Government Controlled Areas (NGCAs) are allowed only under extreme circumstances. This has created challenges for civilians and humanitarian organizations the conflict-affected Donetsk and Luhanska oblasts.
As of May, 325 exemptions have been granted for individuals to cross the contact line, compared to 900,000 monthly crossings prior to the closure. This has impacted 500,000 pensioners in NGCAs that cross regularly to receive government pensions in GCAs. Prior to the outbreak, physical presence in GCAs was required to access pensions. This requirement is suspended and pensions are being sent directly to bank accounts. However, pensioners are unable to access money since there is no formal banking system or ATMS in NGCAs.
Humanitarian organizations have reported constraints in the delivery of services. Only two UN convoys have entered Donetsk (NGCA) and authorities in Luhanska (NGCA) have denied entry to humanitarian organizations and the OSCE mission, citing the closure of the contact line. On 11 May, the Ukrainian government and non-state authorities in Luhanska granted permission for assistance to be delivered, but only through the Stanytsia Luhanska crossing point, which does not have the structural capacity to allow for truck transportation and will require goods to be moved manually across the contact line. ?
Since mid-July authorities on both sides of the contact line have gradually eased COVID-19 restrictions. Stanytsia Luhanska, Novotroitske, and Marinka crossing points are now partially operating. Lack of coordination and limited communication on crossing procedures have resulted in people stranded at the contact line for several days, in need of food and water. People entering GCA from NGCA are required to install a smartphone application to monitor self-isolation. This makes access to GCA difficult for those without smartphones. ?