18:00 GMT14 August 2020
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    Almost 6 million euros ($6.27 million) will be donated as humanitarian aid to the residents of eastern Ukraine as a Christmas gift from Pope Francis, the Pontifical Council Cor Unum said on Friday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The aid will go to the people of Donetsk and Lugansk, Kharkiv, and Dnipro, formerly known as Dnipropetrovsk, "without distinction of religion, faith or ethnic background," the statement released by the Council said.

    It is the first installment of the aid for humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and is "only part of the 12 million euro that’s been collected," the Council explained, adding that the fund raising began on April 24 in all the Catholic parishes of Europe after Pope’s decision to promote humanitarian support for eastern Ukraine.

    The funds will be used to finance 20 "large-scale" projects with individual contributions of up to 250,000 euros, as well as 39 initiatives "of solidarity" that make up about 20,000 euros, the Council underlined.

    In April 2014, Ukrainian authorities launched a military operation against independence supporters in Donbass. According to the latest UN data, more than 10,000 people were killed during the conflict.


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