Ukraine crisis explained

Learn about the current crisis in Ukraine, who is affected, and key facts.

Image: Pierre Crom / Stringer

What is happening in Ukraine?


On February 24, 2022, Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine.

Over 12 million people have been forced to leave their homes – that’s more than a quarter of Ukraine’s entire population.

Of those displaced, almost 5 million people have left the country and over 7 million are estimated to be displaced internally. Many are unable to leave because of damage to infrastructure like transport and roads, lack of resources like money or vehicles, and the danger of the war around them.

The situation is developing rapidly, and the death toll is rising. This latest escalation in military action comes after eight years of ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.

ShelterBox is responding to the Ukraine crisis. Watch the video update here.

5 things you need to know about the Ukraine crisis


1. Millions of people in eastern Ukraine have been severely affected by an ongoing conflict that began in 2014 when Crimea was annexed from Ukraine.

2. Before the recent escalation in conflict, the UN estimated that 2.9 million people in Ukraine were already in need of humanitarian assistance.

3. According to the UN Refugee Agency, before the latest increase in violence, nearly 1.5 million people were internally displaced within Ukraine, with half being over the age of 60 – making it one of the ‘oldest’ crises in the world.

4. Since 2014, Ukraine has been the target of multiple cyber-attacks, some resulting in devastating power blackouts affecting thousands of people.

5. Winter temperatures fall as low as -8 °C in Ukraine, causing even more challenges for people caught up in the conflict.

We are deeply concerned for families in Ukraine fleeing their homes. That is why we stand with the UN in calling for peace and the protection of civilians affected by the crisis in Ukraine and critical basic infrastructure and services.

How can I help people in Ukraine?

See how you can support people caught up in the crisis

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How is ShelterBox helping?


ShelterBox is responding to the Ukraine crisis. We are working with our partner Relief Aid to get aid to people who are surviving in damaged buildings.

We are working on three projects:

1. Working with our partner, People in Need, we’re providing thousands of mattresses for collective centres like schools and churches in Lviv, Ukraine. This will offer people somewhere to sleep and keep warm at night.

2. Together with ReliefAid, we are distributing shelter kits with tools and rope, high thermal blankets, hygiene kits, solar lights and water carriers to help people survive in buildings damaged by the conflict.

3. We’ll be supporting refugees in neighbouring countries with high priority items they can carry with them, like hygiene items and cash. Our teams are working with government representatives, Rotary and other humanitarian organisations in Moldova to draw up our plans.

people unloading mattresses off a yellow truck

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