The Principality is still rallying in support of the Ukrainian people as the country is still being subjected to massive shelling.
A new year has dawned, but unfortunately the war in Ukraine is not over. Bombing continues in several parts of the country. In these circumstances, foreign aid is paramount. And Monaco is still supporting the Ukrainian population at every level, as it has done since the beginning of the incursion on 24 February 2022.
The Monegasque Red Cross, central to the solidarity effort
The Sovereign was quick to denounce the invasion of Ukraine in no uncertain terms. “The Principality of Monaco reaffirms its commitment to respect for international law, and the sovereignty, integrity and independence of States. It considers that disagreements and conflicts must be resolved solely through dialogue and diplomacy,” he said, before indicating his willingness to welcome Ukrainian refugees. By mid-September, around 190 had found shelter in the Principality.
The Monegasque Red Cross decided to act very early on, both on the ground by providing all sorts of basic necessities and care – in partnership with the Monaco Cardio-Thoracic Centre – and by providing the refugees who arrived in Monaco with the means to live decently.
In addition to deploying teams to the country, an appeal for donations was launched. It raised 170,000 euros in just 72 hours… and 1.7 million euros by July. “Our call for donations has met with an incredible response from the public. There was a great deal of empathy from the Monegasques and residents,” commented Yann Bertrand, Administrative Director of the Monegasque Red Cross at the time, adding: “We can be proud of the way this crisis is being handled in Monaco.”
Other organisations became involved, including Caritas Monaco, which collected and sent €69,000 to those impacted by the conflict in the days that followed the start of the invasion. The charity chaired by Princess Caroline, AMADE, focused on emergency aid for women and children who had stayed in Ukraine.
“Women face increased risks of abuse, including sexual violence,” the organisation warned at the time, focusing its aid on the maternity ward of the Mykolaiv hospital, which was damaged in the bombings.
With the help of the Prince’s Government, these Monegasque charities have been able to provide schooling for children, medical care for refugees, enrolment in creches for new-born babies, and have made a counselling service available for the families.
Sensitive to the emergency situation faced by Ukrainians living with HIV, Princess Stéphanie, Founding President of Fight Aids Monaco, responded to the international appeal for funds by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV, UNAIDS, with a donation of 25,000 euros.
Monegasques and residents showed their generosity at the entrance to Fontvieille’s Carrefour, where stands were set up during the month of March. The “Friends of Aleksandr Savchuk” foundation collected adult and baby food, hygiene products and other items and transported them to Ukraine.
Particularly moved by the news events, the customers at the shopping centre were very generous. “We absolutely need to help these people, it really upsets me to think of all these people who have lost everything,” one of them told us.
At the same time, Monaco Town Hall also launched a collection to send essential items (sleeping bags, soap, nappies, etc.) to Ukraine, at the Espace Léo Ferré.
Sport and Culture involved
On the sporting side, the Roca Team and AS Monaco were keen to respond to the conflict. Only a few days after the war started, former player and now Roca Team assistant coach Sergiy Gladyr wrote “Stop War” on his tactics board, while AS Monaco posted a video on social media with an appeal for peace #TheOnlyGoalisPeace.
Lithuanian player Donatas Motiejunas also expressed support for Ukraine after a Euroleague game against Fenerbahce (92-78). “We should take a moment of silence for everything that is happening in Europe at the moment. Many innocent people are dying… Please stop the war in Ukraine. Our thoughts and prayers are with the country at this time. Thank you.”
Shortly afterwards, at the beginning of March, ASM made donations to the Monegasque Red Cross to support the Ukrainian civilian population, as did its Russian President Dmitry Rybolovlev, in a personal capacity. Rybolovlev stated: “It is absolutely crucial to support those who are suffering the most. Therefore, AS Monaco, Cercle Brugge and myself in a personal capacity, as well as various companies where the Rybolovlev Family Trust is invested, have decided to make donations to provide humanitarian aid.”
At the end of March, before the match against PSG, Rybolovlev made another personal donation to the Monaco Red Cross, and the Club gave part of the proceeds from the match against the Parisians to the charity. A month later, the shirts from the Monaco-Nice derby were auctioned off and the profits donated to the Secours Populaire des Alpes-Maritimes to support Ukrainian refugees. At the same time, the President of the Monaco Club made a new donation, in a personal capacity, for an undisclosed amount.
In December, during a gala organised at the Monaco Yacht Club, nearly 250,000 euros were raised for the Elina Svitolina Foundation, whose main mission is to promote sport and tennis in Ukraine. “We deal with displaced people, including children. We want to give them the opportunity to live a normal life,” said the Ukrainian tennis player about the role of her charity.
Cultural institutions also demonstrated solidarity. The proceeds from several performances at the Princess Grace Theatre, the Grimaldi Forum and the Monte Carlo Opera were donated in full to the Monegasque Red Cross. Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo’s Artistic Director Jean-Christophe Maillot announced the temporary suspension of one of his shows at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, and the Ballet Company was keen to provide material and financial support, as well as human assistance, to Ukraine.
“Despite this decision, I would like to express my deep attachment to all the staff and especially to the choreographic artists of the Moscow Bolshoi Theatre, with whom I have had the pleasure of working over the past seven years, as well as my deep respect for those who have taken a stand against the war,” he wrote on Instagram.
Symbolically, and as a sign of unity, the Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra brought together a Russian conductor and a Ukrainian violinist for a concert. On 23 October, the Russian conductor Stanislav Kochanovsky and the Ukrainian-born violinist Valeriy Sokolov’s combined talents provided a sumptuous symphonic concert performance on the theme of “The Apotheosis of Dance”.
And the Principality has not forgotten our furry and feathered friends, and has shown particular concern for the animals. In May, an appeal for solidarity with a Ukrainian zoo in Kharkiv, launched by Hélène Granouillac, an elected representative from Nice, was taken up by the Jardin Animalier de Monaco, which donated 550 kg of food for the zoo’s birds, as well as for abandoned cats and dogs.
How can we continue to help?
Winter threatens the lives of millions in the war-torn country. “With the constant bombing, people are left without electricity and heating. We need electric generators, powerbanks, candles, thermal underwear, blankets, and food,” Zhanna Bubka from the Help Monaco Ukraine collective explained to Monaco Info on Thursday 29 December.
As Princess Stephanie points out on her sign, the future of Ukraine depends on solidarity. Let’s keep it up!
There are several options:
Support the Monegasque Red Cross in its actions to help Ukraine, and in particular the future rebuilding of the country, by cheque to Monegasque Red Cross – Ukraine – 27 Boulevard de Suisse – 98000 Monaco or online on the official website.
Donate all types of food and clothing via the collections organised by the Help Ukraine Monaco collective. According to its members, a new collection should be taking place before Easter. For more information: +33 6 40 61 97 55.