Russian Camps Project
In May 2022 Effective Aid Ukraine teamed up with Rubikus, an international charity registered in Germany that coordinates efforts to assist Ukrainian refugees who have been brought to camps in Russia, either forcibly by the Russian army, or of their own volition in the case of Ukrainian refugees who have found themselves behind enemy lines with no other means of escape.
Refugees leaving Ukraine by this route either forcibly or of their own volition are initially brought to filtration camps in the Donbas where those suspected of having military ties are taken to prisons. Those allowed to pass through are then taken to camps in Western Russia where they have the choice of making their own way to another place in Russia or being brought to a permanent camp, some of which are in the most easterly parts of Siberia.
It is estimated that there are one million Ukrainian refugees in Russian, almost all of them in Russian camps.
Most refugees arriving in Russian camps do not have the wherewithal, either financial or psychological, to make their own way. A small number do and a smaller number of these are assisted by a network of anonymous volunteers to travel across Russia to the border with the EU, including the border with Estonia.
Rubikus helps between 100 and 150 Ukrainian refugees to make their way from Russian camps to the EU every day. Effective Aid Ukraine meets up with a small number of these in Estonia, feeds them in Tallinn and then flies them to Ireland.
Our job is to get these refugees to Ireland, at which point they enter the Irish system in the same way as any other Ukrainian refugees. We do commit to providing ongoing support.
The Refugees arriving in Tallinn are met by an Irish project manager based in Estonia who is joined by a group of volunteers drawn from the permanent Ukrainian community in Estonia. On some occasions they are joined by volunteers travelling from Ireland. Our strict policy is that all volunteers cover their own costs.
Our hope is to continue to assist 75 Ukrainian refugees per month fleeing Russian camps.
This project was suspended in October 2023 as accommodation in Ireland became acute and Effective Aid Ukraine chose to prioritise destitute children with their mothers coming from front-line cities.”