We hear it again and again from international aid organizations operating in Ukraine.
“We cannot support your military.”
“The principle of neutrality is at the core of our work.”
“We cannot compromise our neutrality by allowing our help to reach your soldiers.”
But how do you separate the army from the people in Ukraine? How do you properly help a nation that is facing total war from an enemy that does not discriminate between military and civilian targets?
The principle of neutrality is not working for us in Ukraine. Quite the opposite. International humanitarian actors need to reconsider their approach, urgently.
Since the war first started here back in 2014, Ukraine’s own non-governmental institutions – its charities, NGOs, and humanitarian groups – began supporting the war effort, realizing the country was facing an existential threat.