The fighting in Ukraine has scarred the physical and social landscape of Donbas: shattering buildings, pitting roads, and upending the lives of over one million Ukrainian citizens. Ukrainian authorities, including the Civil-Military Cooperation Directorate (CIMIC) of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the military-civil administrations are making steps in the right direction to assist civilian needs, but systemic shortcomings still hamper efforts to provide urgently needed assistance to conflict-affected civilians. The report identifies protection needs expressed by civilians, maps key assistance mechanisms, and pinpoints gaps that impede the effective delivery of assistance to conflict-affected populations. A series of focus-group discussions with civil society leaders, interviews with local officials and CIMIC cells along the contact line, questionnaires for national level authorities, and studies of existing legislature served as basis for the analysis.
“Falling Through The Cracks” also shares civilian perspectives on civil-military cooperation and initiatives by the local and national governments and offers recommendations on how to resolve these patterns. Some key recommendations include adopting a national strategy and action plan for the protection of civilians, facilitating the sharing of best practices between military-civil administrations, and transitioning CIMIC to an entirely professional unit staffed with full-time officers.