The Lieutenant of the Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Fra’ John Dunlap, received the Ukrainian Prime Minister, Denys Shmyhal, with military honors at the Magistral Villa. The visit, coinciding with the fifteenth anniversary of diplomatic relations between the Order of Malta and Ukraine, provided an opportunity to review the programs developed by the Order in response to the evolving medical and humanitarian needs in the country.
The friendship and cooperation between Ukraine and the Order of Malta date back to 1990 when the Order’s relief organization initiated its first humanitarian activities in Ukraine. Over the years, the programs of its three facilities located in Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, and Berehove have expanded, particularly since February 2022 after the outbreak of the war with Russia.
Prime Minister Shmyhal expressed his heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the continued support of the Order of Malta in Ukraine. He thanked them on behalf of the Government, the President, and the Ukrainian people for their vital role in the country.
During the discussions, the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, characterized by extensive landmine contamination, was addressed. Prime Minister Shmyhal emphasized the need for de-mining operations that will require highly qualified personnel and take hundreds of years. The mental health of the Ukrainian population, particularly children, was also highlighted as an urgent issue that could benefit from synergies with the Order of Malta.
Fra’ John Dunlap, the Lieutenant of the Grand Master, commended the close collaboration between the Order’s Embassy in Kiev and its relief organization, enabling them to carry out their humanitarian mission effectively. He reiterated the commitment to help the Ukrainian people as long as necessary, highlighting the cooperation between the Order’s diplomatic and operational entities, both in Ukraine and neighboring countries, to provide emergency aid and humanitarian support to displaced persons and refugees.
Riccardo Paternò, the Grand Chancellor of the Order of Malta, emphasized the importance of the Ukrainian authorities guaranteeing the free circulation of humanitarian goods and protecting humanitarian personnel in compliance with international laws.
The Order of Malta has established a support network in Ukraine and neighboring countries, providing medical and social support, logistical and psychological assistance, shelters for displaced persons, generators, solar batteries, and a mobile prosthesis laboratory for landmine victims. Malteser International, the Order’s worldwide relief agency, has coordinated national and international efforts, increasing their effectiveness.
Over 6,100 tons of aid have been distributed to 65 cities and towns in Ukraine, including over 680,000 food rations. Psychological support has been provided by over 130 psychologists, focusing on traumatized children and healthcare professionals at risk of burnout. Additionally, more than 13,000 people have received basic first aid training. The Order’s National Associations in neighboring countries have also contributed to the relief efforts by providing qualified personnel, accommodation, medical assistance, and transportation for the injured.
The meeting was attended by other key figures from the Order of Malta, including the Grand Commander Fra’ Emmanuel Rousseau, the Grand Hospitaller Alessandro de Franciscis, the Receiver of the Common Treasure Fabrizio Colonna, the Secretary General for Foreign Affairs Stefano Ronca and the Order of Malta’s Ambassador to Ukraine, Antonio Gazzanti Pugliese di Cotrone.