The severity of humanitarian access constraints in Ukraine varies greatly between oblasts and has evolved over time. Even though changes to the front lines have recently slowed, the conflict and related access constraints remain dynamic. Access constraints are highest in Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, where safety and security risks resulting from active ground conflict and the destruction of infrastructure severely limit the movement of humanitarians and civilians. Access constraints are also high in other oblasts with the presence of Russian forces, namely Kharkiv, Kherson, Mykolaiv, and Zaporizhzhia. Humanitarians in these oblasts face the security risks of operating near active ground conflict and the difficulty of operating in areas controlled by Russian forces.
Key nationwide access considerations:
- Active ground conflict limits the movement of civilians and humanitarians near the front lines, particularly in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, where the conflict has intensified in the past weeks.
- Access to areas controlled by Russian forces and non-government-controlled area (NGCA) authorities is very limited, especially in areas that have come under the control of Russian forces since the 24 February invasion.
- Shelling and air strikes are most pronounced in places where ground fighting is still active, but the risk of air strikes remains a nationwide concern. 21 of 26 oblasts have experienced shelling or an air strike since April 2022 (ACLED accessed 10/06/2022). In areas with heavier shelling, civilians risk their safety whenever they leave their homes to go to an aid distribution point. For humanitarian staff, especially international responders, organisations’ safety policies can cause some transportation methods and localities to be off limits.
- The presence of mines and unexploded ordnance (UXO) restricts the movement of civilians and humanitarians, even after the end of ground conflict.
- Fuel shortages and high fuel prices affect the response nationwide, particularly for local volunteer organisations that pay for their own fuel. These organisations are also facing a decrease in donations from the public as income and employment opportunities decrease (KII 05/06/2022 a; KII 09/06/2022 a).