More than 1.5m people have reportedly crossed into neighbouring countries since Russia invaded, meaning Ukraine has the fastest-growing refugee crisis since World War II, according to the United Nations.
UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Like hundreds of millions of others around the world, we’re appalled at the humanitarian disaster unfolding in Ukraine. This is especially distressing to the dedicated Ukrainians who work in our sector and others from nearby countries. Our thoughts are with them all.
“As ever, though, our industry is showing compassion and rising to this latest, tragic challenge. We have been heartened by the initiatives that business owners and their employees have already taken forward.”
A new Russian ceasefire proposal to permit civilians to flee key cities has been branded “immoral” by Ukrainians: those in Kyiv will be offered passage to Russia’s ally Belarus, whereas those in Kharkiv will have a corridor leading only to Russia itself.
UKH had been in dialogue with the Government about how the sector could further support ongoing efforts to help those already displaced by the conflict, according to Nicholls.
She concluded: “Our sector is well placed to be part of the global collaborative effort to help the people of Ukraine and to assist with the new humanitarian supported pathway announced by the Government earlier this week. We are ready to co-ordinate offers of accommodation, community support and jobs and have also offered to provide a sector-led sponsorship scheme.”
Europe’s craft breweries, cider makers and wineries have also banded together to raise funds for the Ukrainian people through the Drinkers for Ukraine initiative. Launched last week, the project is a fundraising drive to support the International Red Cross humanitarian relief efforts.
The project will host events throughout March, with Drinkers for Ukraine calling upon breweries to brew Resist, a ‘Ukrainian Anti-Imperial Stout’, developed by displaced Ukrainian brewers, with profits donated to the Red Cross.