WARSAW, Poland — A global fundraiser for Ukrainian refugees has raised just over 10.1 billion euros, or nearly $11 billion, in pledges, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said in Warsaw on Saturday.
“[Ukrainians] stand up for our freedom, so we stand up for Ukraine,” von der Leyen said in her opening remarks.
Both the European commission and the Canadian government, who organized the fundraiser in concert with international anti-poverty organization Global Citizen, were among the donors, whose pledges included direct donations, loans and grants to assist refugees fleeing Ukraine after Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion, Reuters reported.
“The ‘Stand Up For Ukraine’ campaign has raised €9.1 billion for people fleeing bombs, inside and outside Ukraine, with an additional billion pledged by (the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development),” von der Leyen said.
Odile Renaud-Basso, the bank’s president, said in a video statement on Twitter that the money will help fund myriad initiatives, including investment in municipal infrastructure and funding to companies that can provide jobs to refugees, The Washington Post reported.
According to the commission, about 4.1 billion euros are donations by governments, companies and individuals, while 5 billion euros will take the form of loans and grants from European public financial institutions, the Post reported.
Specifically, the fundraiser yielded 1.8 billion euros to support internally displaced people inside Ukraine, and 7.3 billion euros for refugees who have fled the country to neighboring nations, Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an additional 100 million Canadian dollars in humanitarian aid for Ukraine and neighboring countries, noting that Canada would also provide more than 345,000 “essential relief items,” such as blankets and mattresses, the Post reported.
“As a humanitarian crisis deepens and needs continue to grow, our humanitarian response must keep pace,” Trudeau said via video address during the event.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiyy spoke to Trudeau on Saturday, thanking him for support of the campaign, The Guardian reported, noting that more than 4.4 million refugees have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion began.
The event included both a social media rally on Friday and a pledging conference on Saturday, the news outlet reported.
Artists including Elton John, Alanis Morissette, Billie Eilish, Annie Lennox and Chris Rock participated in the campaign.
“We are devastated to see the suffering of people in Ukraine as this conflict unfolds,” Elton John said on Facebook. John also promoted the event via Twitter:
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