While President Donald Trump has been pressuring Ukraine's government for dirt on his political rivals, he has ignored the humanitarian crisis in that war-torn nation.
Trump admits talking with Ukraine's leader in July, seeking information to use against presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son. While Trump stops at nothing to fulfill his own greed for power, Ukraine's war victims are going hungry.
There is a lack of humanitarian funds for civilians impacted by the fighting in Eastern Ukraine between the government and Russian backed separatist groups.
A September UN report says in the Ukraine, "The discontinuation of food assistance to over 30,000 vulnerable people is one of the many examples of the impact that underfunding has had."
There has been very little funding for Ukraine the past few years, making it difficult for aid agencies to hold on there, according to Catholic Relief Services. The crisis in Ukraine is among the world's most ignored according to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). The president should be focusing on this emergency, rather than his own shady political agenda.
The American people should expect the president to lead on peacemaking and humanitarianism. Ukraine needs both desperately.
The United Nations says, "The conflict in eastern Ukraine has paralyzed the economic and agricultural activity of an otherwise fervent region, severely impacting the wellbeing and living standards of vulnerable people."
More than one million Ukrainians are food insecure. Land mines have prevented farmers from growing food. With the coming winter people will need heat to survive, but they can't afford that necessity and food.
The NRC explains, "Civilians living along the contact line, which separates government-controlled areas and non-government-controlled areas, are considered the most vulnerable. Here, employment is scarce, medical care is difficult to access, and many don’t have adequate food, shelter or heating." That is why the UN says "US$52 million urgently needed to address most acute and time-critical humanitarian needs ahead of winter."
International aid is vital to sustaining the poor and hungry in Ukraine, until peace can be restored. President Trump sadly has ignored the needs in Ukraine and across the world. Trump even recently ordered a withdrawal of aid to Central America, which included humanitarian programs.
Trump has also called for cuts to food aid in his first three budget proposals, including eliminating the McGovern-Dole global school lunch program. Save the Children says it "condemns the president’s third consecutive budget request seeking to make deep cuts to international development, diplomatic, and humanitarian assistance." While the Congress has rejected these Trump cuts, it's still very harmful to have the President calling for such a drastic budget that impacts the poor.
President Trump has also continued to support the Saudi coalition in the civil war in Yemen, which has left more than 20 million civilians living in hunger. That crisis, along with so many others, lacks enough funds for the hungry. The United States traditionally increases humanitarian aid when there is a global crisis, like it did with World War II.
With global hunger and displacement at extremely high levels, we should be drastically increasing funding for food and assistance programs. This is vital to Ukraine and many other nations in need.
The hungry war victims of Ukraine don’t need political shenanigans from Trump. They need peace. They need food on their plate and shelter which the United States can help them get.
William Lambers is an author who partnered with the UN World Food Program on the book "Ending World Hunger."