- March 1, 2022
Lithuanian citizens engaged in Ukraine aid campaign
27 countries, including Great Britain and The United States of America, are providing Ukraine with ammunition, medical supplies, and any other help it requires. Lithuania supports Ukraine in its fight against the Russian invasion too. Non-governmental organizations joined in to help as well: Lithuanian Red Cross, The Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Caritas, Food banks, community organization Gelbėkit vaikus, and many others.
Due to tragic events in Ukraine, the Lithuanian Red Cross launched fundraising for the help of victims of war in Ukraine. As part of the campaign “Mūsų širdys ir rankos – Ukrainai!” (Our hearts and hands for Ukraine) a donation of 5 euro can be made by calling the number 1485, as well as via aukok.lt. website. 5 million euro has already been collected this way. The funds raised are to cover the purchase of food, dressing materials, and security of other priority needs in the first place.
People engaged in charity items campaign
“We’re organizing help for Ukrainian citizens affected by the armed conflict. Last Saturday evening a three-day charity items campaign was announced. We did not expect that already on Sunday people will have had donated so many essentials that we will stop gathering as a temporary measure. Residents were bringing much needed mattresses, sleeping bags, blankets, towels, warm clothing and footwear.
We have temporarily stopped the collecting. This is mainly due to logistical problems; not all gifts were sent to Ukraine yet. We want to make sure our help actually got through to Ukraine first, and only then relaunch the campaign. As for now, it is also unclear where we will direct another items — to Ukraine, to Poland, where thousands of Ukrainian refugees are already at, or maybe donated things will be needed for Ukrainians who will arrive in our country. Therefore we kindly ask all of you to keep the items at home, and if necessary, to deliver them to pick-up point” — said Luka Lesauskaitė, the Lithuanian Red Cross press spokeswoman.
Apartments prepared for war refugees
Edmundas Jakilaitis, journalist, social activist, founder of the “Stiprūs kartu” (Strong together) initiative informs that the announced Dwellings for Ukrainian refugees search action immediately gained a lot of support. “Citizens of Lithuania have already made hundreds of apartments available, in which approximately ten thousand war refugees from Ukraine could live in free of charge. People are also offering transport services and other help” — Jakilaitis points out.
Millions have been collected for the Ukrainian army
Lithuanians have already donated over 6.5 million euro to the Lithuanian organization Blue/Yellow, which supports the Ukrainian army.
“Raised funds will finance battleships, off-road vehicles, diesel fuel, drones, helmets, bullet-proof vests. Thank you all for your support” announces Jonas Ohmanas, president of the organization, in a conversation with Kurier Wileński. He is Swedish, but he’s been living in Lithuania for many years and he’s a citizen of our country. He established the Blue/Yellow organization in the year 2014, after the occupation of Crimea.
The Church helps war refugees
Money to help Ukraine was collected last Sunday in the churches of Lithuania too. All the funds raised will be donated for the charity organization Caritas in Ukraine.
“The Church will help war refugees from Ukraine. Archdiocese of Vilnius prepared for them rooms at the hotel “Domus Maria” and other places, such as for example monasteries or retreat houses. We will provide sustenance and other necessary things as well. Volunteers are involved in helping. We ask people not only for material but for moral support to be shown to Ukrainian citizens too, so that they can feel important and valued here, after their arrival to Lithuania. We ask for help in their social commitment” says Živilė Peluritienė, Archdiocese of Vilnius press spokeswoman to Kurier Wileński.
Ukraine creates a foreign legion
On Sunday, February 27, president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy informed that his country creates a foreign legion and called foreigners to join the fight. On Monday, February 28, the Latvian Parliament allowed its citizens to fight in Ukraine.
The current national security bill did not allow, with certain exceptions, the service of Latvian people in other countries’ armed forces and military organizations. “Latvian Parliament unanimously passed the bill that allows Latvian volunteers possibility of fight in Ukrainian armed forces” Latvian Minister of Foreign Affairs Edgars Rinkēvičs wrote on Twitter.
At the Ukraine embassy in Vilnius we were informed that in order to obtain information Lithuanian citizens who wish to enlist in the foreign legion can report to the diplomatic post at the address Teatro 4 street or call the number (8-5) 212 15 36.
Asta Galdikaitė, head of the public information department at the Ministry of National Protection in a conversation with Kurier Wileński pointed out that the Republic of Lithuania’s legal acts allow people of Lithuania to serve in other country’s military ranks.
“However, in accordance with current legislation, when Lithuanian citizen decides to serve in the military of another country, they should obtain permission from the RoL. The citizenship act provides for a person serving in the military of a foreign country without such permission to be held accountable. For this kind of activity, there is a penalty of losing the RoL citizenship” informed Galdikaitė.
Translated by Sonia Dados within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.