Red Cross pauses Ukraine operations amid Russian airstrikes

A Red Cross spokesperson said that while fieldwork had halted, aid workers were able to continue desk work.

Residents stand in line to collect humanitarian aid at a Red Cross distribution point, as Russia's attacks on Ukraine continues, in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, June 10, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/EDGAR SU)
Residents stand in line to collect humanitarian aid at a Red Cross distribution point, as Russia's attacks on Ukraine continues, in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, June 10, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/EDGAR SU)

The International Committee of the Red Cross and at least one other aid group paused their fieldwork in Ukraine for security reasons on Monday after Russia fired missiles at cities across Ukraine.

Russia hit sites across the country, striking the capital Kyiv with an intensity not seen since Russian forces sought to capture the capital early in the more than seven-month war.

Moscow says the strikes were against energy, command and communication targets in retaliation for what it describes as terrorist attacks.

"For security reasons, our teams have paused operations today," a spokesperson said in an emailed response to a Reuters question. The ICRC has some 700 staff working at 10 locations across the country and delivers aid and medicine, including to the millions of people displaced by the ongoing conflict.

A second ICRC spokesperson later added that while fieldwork had halted, aid workers were able to continue desk work. "As soon as it's safe to move they will," he added.

A volunteer sorts out donated clothes at a Red Cross distribution point, as Russia's attacks on Ukraine continues, in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, June 10, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/EDGAR SU)A volunteer sorts out donated clothes at a Red Cross distribution point, as Russia's attacks on Ukraine continues, in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, June 10, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/EDGAR SU)

“We cannot aid vulnerable communities when our aid workers are hiding from a barrage of bombs and in fear of repeated attacks.”

Jan Egeland, Secretary General, Norwegian Refugee Council

The Norwegian Refugee Council also said that it had halted its aid operations in Ukraine until it is safe to resume.

"We cannot aid vulnerable communities when our aid workers are hiding from a barrage of bombs and in fear of repeated attacks," said Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the NRC.

Status of UNHCR operations in Ukraine

A spokesperson for the United Nations refugee agency said its operations continued, with staff sheltering during air raids.