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A long French humanitarian convoy at the Romanian border

A Ukrainian refugee breastfeeds her child in a ballroom converted into a shelter, in Suceava, Romania, 40 kilometers from the border with Ukraine, on March 20, 2022.

A convoy of fifty vehicles stretches for 2 kilometers and advances slowly on the roads of Romania. He left France on March 22, crossed all of Europe, from west to east, and arrived on Saturday March 26 in Suceava, a town located in the northeast of Romania, 40 kilometers from the border. Romanian-Ukrainian. A border that separates the territories of the European Union (EU) and NATO from Ukraine, invaded by the Russian Federation, on February 24. “This is a humanitarian solidarity convoy between France and Ukraine, says Xavier, the commander of this detachment which has 128 people. This is an initiative of the French Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs within the framework of the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism. »

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It is near the Romanian-Ukrainian border that the Bucharest government set up, on March 9, an international center to receive and distribute humanitarian aid intended for its Ukrainian neighbours. “This center is run by the authorities in Brussels with a view to facilitating assistance to Ukraine in a coherent way, declared the Romanian Prime Minister, Nicolae Ciuca, on the occasion of its opening. We have already received 5,700 offers of help on the platform “Ukraine, it is better to help together” from public institutions and civil society. » A call that has been heard in France, both by the national authorities and at the departmental level.

The fifty vehicles of the French convoy transported to Romania 49 tons of material, namely 344 cubic meters of medical and relief tools. “This convoy is fairly representative of French civil security, emphasizes Xavier, the commander. Since we have fifty rescuers from civil security, fifty firefighters from the departmental fire and rescue services, and a dozen people in charge of logistics who help us transport this material. » This gift from France will be given to Ukrainians on Monday, March 28, in Cernauti, a town located in the south of the country.

Arranged in emergency

A second convoy made up of 21 brand new ambulances also went to the center of Suceava, waiting for the green light to enter Ukraine, the terminus of the trip. An operation made possible thanks to donations from the Local Authorities External Action Fund (Faceco), created in 2013 and managed by the crisis and support center of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs. “These operations are part of the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism, according to a French diplomatic source. It is a way of ensuring that several European countries will not respond to the same request. Coordination takes place at European level in real time by means of computer systems which allow us to adjust this aid. »

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