World for Ukraine international summit concludes in southeastern Poland

PAP/Darek Delmanowicz

More than 1,200 participants attended the three-day summit dedicated to humanitarian aid for Ukraine. The event comprised 40 panel discussions and debates.

The topics on the agenda of the summit in Jasionka near Rzeszów, southeastern Poland, included such issues as refugee relief, medical rehabilitation of the victims of war, providing key services and reconstruction of the economy, child welfare, and responsibility for war crimes.

The World for Ukraine summit brought together representatives of state and local governments, NGOs, and businesses, in order to find the best ways to respond to Ukrainian calls for help.

A repeatedly raised matter was how the continued Russian campaign of relentless terror bombing is worsening the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and how this may lead to a new wave of refugees during the coming winter.

Jacek Pniewa, who represented the local government of Przemyśl, a city located less than 10 kilometres from the border with Ukraine, spoke extensively on the challenges Przemyśl had to deal with in the past months. As he stressed, every day several thousands of Ukrainian refugees pass through the city.

“At present, five trains from Ukraine arrive every day. Earlier it would be more than a dozen. Some brought onboard 5,000 people,” said Pniewa. “They must visit our city before relocating further. They must get some sleep. We must feed them, sometimes clothe them.”

He moreover highlighted that Przemyśl has been “preparing new accommodations since summer”, in preparation for a new wave of refugees that may arrive in the city during winter. “Apart from a humanitarian help centre that has existed since the start of the war, we are preparing two more places that will be able to accommodate several hundreds of refugees.”

Pniewski said that Przemyśl is helping the refugees to “get themselves organised, shake off the trauma, and then we direct them further, into Poland and other European countries.”

The choice of Jasionka as the place for holding the summit was not coincidental, a point many attendees brought up. The village is the place where the Rzeszów city airport is located. Przemyśl and Rzeszów are two major cities of the Podkarpackie Province, a region that has been of key importance in organising support for Ukraine since the start of the war. For their part in assisting the refugees, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy honoured the two cities with the title of “Rescuer City”.

The patrons of the World for Ukraine summit were the Council of Europe, Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Mayor of Rzeszów. The event was supported by Global Empowerment Mission, UNITED24, Polish Humanitarian Action, Core Response, Americares, Project Hope, and the TRATWA association.