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Ukraine fundraising raises $11 billion

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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on Saturday that the ‘Stand Up for Ukraine’ pledge drive and concert event has already raised an eye watering $11 billion for Ukrainian refugees. European leaders and their supporters have pledged $9.9 billion, with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development promising $1.1 billion.

The event has been organised by von der Leyen, Polish President Andrzej Duda, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, and the NGO Global Citizen streaming online from Warsaw, and will feature dozens of musical performances in support of Ukrainian temporary migrants. Participating artists include U2, Miley Cyrus, Madonna, Pearl Jam, Billie Eilish, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stevie Wonder, Ozzy Osbourne, and Celine Dion.

Roughly 10 million Ukrainians have been displaced by the conflict in their country, with 6.5 displaced internally and a further 3.5 million opting to migrate from country. Of these figures it is estimated that 2 million of the affected are children.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky commented on the proceedings via a video calling on “musicians, actors, athletes, businessmen, politicians, everybody who wants to join the movement and stand up for Ukraine” to participate. He went on to thank von der 

Leyen and stated that “Ukrainian courage has already united the whole democratic world” before reverting to familiar demands for further sanctions on Russian banks and oil companies.

“Join us, join for humanity to win,” he said.

The donated funds will be allocated for humanitarian support, such as paying for emergency health services, and providing shelter, water, and food. 

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau launched a program for Ukrainians wanting to migrate to Canada, streamlining visa and travel requirements as well as further assistance if needed. Since its implementation over 30,000 people have been approved under the program.

Launched on March 25 the ‘Stand Up for Ukraine’ campaign, culminated in a “social media rally” on Friday during which supporters are asked to make and post videos explaining why they’re “standing up for Ukraine.” 

Any donors are being directed “vetted grassroots non-profits supporting people displaced by the conflict” and are asked to plead with world leaders to address the “global refugee crisis.”  Following this on Saturday the concert was streamed online. Von der Leyen claims that a Ukrainian child becomes a refugee “almost every single second” since Russia’s “special military operation” began in February.

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