Prime Minister of Ukraine received by the Lieutenant of the Grand Master Fra’ John Dunlap
The Prime Minister of Ukraine, Denys Shmyal, was received with military honours today at the Magistral Villa by the Lieutenant of the Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Fra’ John Dunlap. The visit, which falls on the fifteenth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Ukraine – initiated in February 2008 – provided an opportunity to review the programmes developed by the Order of Malta in the country in the light of its evolving medical and humanitarian needs.
The bonds of friendship and cooperation date back to 1990 when the Order of Malta’s relief organisation in Ukraine began its first humanitarian activities. The programmes of its three facilities – located in Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Berehove – have developed more and more over the years, especially since February 2022, in the aftermath of the outbreak of war with Russia.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the Order of Malta’s continued support for Ukraine. “I thank you from the bottom of my heart on behalf of the Government, the President and the Ukrainian people for the important role you play in our country,” the Ukrainian Prime Minister remarked.
During the talks, the dramatic humanitarian situation in the country, which is the most landmine-contaminated country in the world, was discussed. Prime Minister Shmyhal explained that de-mining operations will take hundreds of years and will require highly qualified personnel. The mental health of the Ukrainian population – especially that of children – was another emergency at the centre of the meeting, for which – the Ukrainian premier hoped – synergies with the Order of Malta will be necessary.
“The close and fruitful collaboration between our Embassy in Kiev and our relief organisation enables us to carry out our humanitarian mission to the best of our ability, which also benefits from the Cooperation Agreement we signed with Ukraine in 2019,” remarked the Lieutenant of the Grand Master, Fra’ John Dunlap, during the meeting characterised by an atmosphere of cordiality and cooperation.
“We will continue to help the Ukrainian people as long as it is necessary. We owe it to our men and women in your country, we owe it to the innocent victims of this war,” added the Lieutenant of the Grand Master, explaining that the close cooperation between the Order’s diplomatic and operational entities, both in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries, has made it possible to offer emergency aid and humanitarian support to the hundreds of thousands of displaced persons and refugees who have crossed the borders.
The Order of Malta’s Grand Chancellor, Riccardo Paternò, reiterated that: “At the bilateral level, the Ukrainian authorities have been formally asked to guarantee the free circulation of humanitarian goods brought into the country by the Order of Malta for displaced persons, and to protect humanitarian personnel in compliance with international laws”.
The Order of Malta has activated a support network both in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries by providing medical and social support, logistical and psychological assistance, providing shelters for displaced persons and distributing generators and solar batteries, and setting up a mobile prosthesis laboratory for landmine victims. Malteser International, the worldwide relief agency of the Order of Malta, coordinated – and still coordinates – the national and international efforts, increasing their effectiveness.
More than 6,100 tons of aid have been distributed to some 65 cities and towns in Ukraine; over 680,000 food rations have been distributed to border points and within Ukraine; over 130 psychologists are working in the country with projects to assist traumatised children in particular and to support doctors and nurses at risk of ‘burn out’; over 13,000 people have taken basic first aid courses. The Order of Malta’s National Associations in the surrounding countries – Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania – have all participated in the relief effort by providing qualified personnel, accommodation, medical assistance and transport of the injured.
This morning’s meeting was also attended by the Grand Commander Fra’ Emmanuel Rousseau, the Grand Hospitaller Alessandro de Franciscis, the Receiver of the Common Treasure Fabrizio Colonna, the Secretary General for Foreign Affairs Stefano Ronca and the Order of Malta’s Ambassador to Ukraine, Antonio Gazzanti Pugliese di Cotrone.