Women and Girls must leave Donbass, Ukraine now, urges GBV support workers

This week in Donetsk

Why civilians must leave Donbass.

The RINJ Foundation has evacuated most of its communities of operations where women’s shelters in the Ukrainian-controlled Donbass region have been located, but local administrators now say there must be at least 160,000 people who are mobile but refuse to leave, or don’t yet realize the urgency. Mobility rescues must be conducted for upwards of 25,000, say the experts. Photograph supplied, preparing a patient for transport from the scene of an artillery strike.

By Melissa Hemingway in Ukraine and Micheal John in Toronto.

Russian Missiles could come at anytime, anywhere. Evacuate now.

They don’t seem to look where they are shooting their missiles, they just shoot. It’s time to leave Donbass, Ukraine.

“We started this evacuation under our own initiatives in February but this month it is mandatory according to Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine Irina Vereshchuk,” explains humanitarian organizer.

“The process of evacuation is extremely complicated. Unfortunately, there is nobody we can appeal to when Russia ruthlessly violates people’s rights, when it violates the Geneva Conventions and every other convention. All those [human rights] organizations are powerless and inadequate; they can do nothing about it,” said Deputy Prime Minister Vereshchuk who had been prompted to make this announcement by the publication of an amnesty International Report claiming accurately that Ukrainian forces and those fighting on their behalf were constantly putting civilians at risk, by exploiting schools and hospitals as locations from which to launch attacks on Russian soldiers, many just barely teenagers, who then fired back at the source of the attack, not knowing the vulnerable civilian situation.

“The same human rights organization [Amnesty International]  that has authored this report,” the Deputy Primie Minister continued, “knows full well what the [Russian] occupiers are doing on the temporarily occupied territories [of Ukraine], but it doesn’t want to talk about it because doing so would reveal the lack of mechanisms at their disposal to hold the terrorist state accountable.”

The RINJ Foundation has no comment about the political aspects of delivering services to women and girls in the Ukraine except to say that based on the existing rape kit evidence, ANY male soldier represents an extreme danger to women and girls in the Donbass region and that the best remedy is to leave the country if possible and leave the combat area to a safer part of Ukraine in the alternative.

“I urge all women and girls to get the hell out of Donbass without delay. We have done what we can in communities where we have influence and are now communicating to women and girls by every means to save their lives by leaving,” stresses Dale Carter, RINJ Women Security Director, from inside the Donbass region.

This week in Donetsk

Why civilians must leave Donbass.

We do not have enough security guards, nor do we have enough medical workers to deal with the extensive problem of gender-based violence toward women and girls. We are already treating numbers in the thousands per week seeing over 80 persons a day at some locations and are beyond being just overwhelmed,” she added.

“People in Kherson and Zaporizhia must get out,” she added.

Video: Organized group travel in busses and trains (best option) is the better way ahead than personal automobiles because of fires across Ukraine. Please leave Donbass, Ukraine when offered a safe passage.

In a press release that accompanied Amnesty International’s accurate report, Amnesty International Secretary-general Agnes Callamard said the organization had “documented a pattern of Ukrainian forces putting civilians at risk and violating the laws of war when they operate in populated areas.”

The report makes it clear that this publication deals with the Ukrainian side and other reports will deal with the numerous other sides.

The report is accurate but limited in its scope. If one were to ask any medical crews in the region they would complain about all sides and have very many more examples of military wrongdoing.

“Kiev does not have a f—–g clue who is fighting on its side and what they are doing,” said a frustrated Colonel in the Ukrainian army who vigorously disapproves of the behaviour referenced in the report, shortly after news of the Amnesty International report circulated.

According to Lana, a hard-core RINJ Women humanitarian worker, a nurse, and an EMS specialist in Donbass, “The only angels I have met in Donbass, have vaginas. This is war and every man is behaving like it is a free-for-all do-what-you-want scenario.”


“I want to reach out to all women and girls in Donbass, Ukraine and say ‘get going’,” Director Carter insists.

“What comes next if you stay may be much sadder than leaving home. Women and girls are in grave danger from many different military units that will be coming into the areas of Donbass still under Kiev-control. It may look OK for the moment, but it will not be safe for some people in the next hours or days.,” said Director Carter.

Women and children have been moved to the Polish border, some already exiting Ukraine, others waiting somewhat comfortably, and in some cases into Russia where that was an indicated best choice. Morbid medical conditions prohibited long travel for some persons who with their Russian-speaking families were given that opportunity by Russian humanitarian groups assisting in the evacuation. All parties to the war were cooperative in conducting medical evacuations when asked.

Many women and children have been moved to women’s shelters in safe regions, away from the areas of active combat, all in accordance with the instructions from the government of Ukraine in Kiev.

It is extremely important to get civilians out of Ukraine-controlled regions before the Ukrainian soldiers flee. We do not know which soldiers will come into the area next., Some are worse than others.,” said Director Carter with considerable emphasis.

Video: Many people refuse to evacuate their homes. That sets them up for disaster.
Husbands are doing some of the heavy-lifting work of some of the local Women Workers who volunteer their time to the RINJ Women to help injured women and girls, many in need of treatment for gender-based violence and extreme violence of a sexual nature

Violence toward women and girls in Donbass is more common than bullet wounds. Some female violence survivors need specialized medical care in a safe environment. They can only be evacuated with an accompanying medical care provider but must be evacuated.

A number of ‘parachute’ senior staff who came here to Ukraine to help with the exodus, are accompanying medivacs in need of further surgeries to their families and doctors in other countries and it has now been decided they will spend more time with the patient as needed and not return to Ukraine allowing for unpredictable scheduling in their follow-up care with highly compromised evacuees. The RINJ Foundation regrets there was no chance for the charges and colleagues of these specialized medical workers in Donbass, Ukraine to say goodbye. They are eventually being relocated back to their home-base operations in other countries with thanks for their contributions in implementing Kiev’s wish for a safe and orderly evacuation of the most vulnerable, first. They will be sorely missed by their new friends in Ukraine. That emotion cannot be overstated. We regret that these ‘goodbyes’ were not possible.

Alona Adamovich who is a director of the RINJ Foundation in charge of a number of women’s shelters and various clinics in Ukraine reports that several shelters in Ukraine-controlled areas of the Donbass remain physically safe under the circumstances and are still providing services and helping stragglers who have taken more time to pack their belongings or make arrangements.

“There are still so many people left to evacuate, people who quite frankly simply refuse to leave. we have been going door-to-door with a huge group of volunteers but are being waved off,” said Director Adamovich from the coast of the Azov Sea where she and colleagues were picking up medical supplies for special-need evacuees.

“Women and girls must get the hell out of here before the troops enter their area. This is extremely urgent,” says Director Adamovich.

Director Adamovich urges all people in the Donbass region to evacuate to safe areas where they have family in countries outside of Ukraine, or inside Ukraine to regions not currently involved in the conflict.

“Civilian injuries are numerous and severe these days and they are happening to people who least expect to be involved in the combat, in this manner,” says Director Adamovich.

“It is sad to leave home and personal belongings, but it is a million times sadder to lose a family member,” insists Alona whose voice is one of considerable experience since 24 February 2022.


Too often have the needs of women and girls in conflict settings been side-lined and treated as an afterthought.

The RINJ Foundation in Ukraine

Donate to the RINJ Women fighting for the safety of women & kids in Ukraine.

RINJ Women Protecting the vulnerable in Ukraine with:

  1. Safe Houses
  2. Women’s shelters,
  3. Rape Clinics,
  4. Birthing Clinics,
  5. Some full service Health Care Clinics.
  6. Donate to these operations in Ukraine.