ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday dispatched a consignment of humanitarian aid to Ukraine as Russian forces continued to press in on Kyiv, amid one of the worst refugee crises in Europe since the World War II.
The development came a day after Pakistan’s federal cabinet approved the allocation of about Rs60 million ($335,000) for Ukraine as an expression of solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
Islamabad has found itself in a precarious situation since the beginning of Russian invasion as President Vladimir Putin ordered his forces to attack Ukraine the day Prime Minister Imran Khan was visiting Moscow.
Pakistan is also one of the few countries in the world that has not condemned Russia for invading Ukraine.
The relief goods were dispatched during a ceremony, attended by Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, at the Nur Khan air base in Rawalpindi.
“I am here to express solidarity with the people of Ukraine. I am here to deliver humanitarian assistance package for the people of Ukraine,” Qureshi said at the ceremony.
“We wish the negotiations that are taking place prove to be fruitful and there is cessation of hostilities as soon as possible.”
Through this gesture, he said, Pakistan wanted to tell the Ukrainian people that “we have not forgotten you, we understand that you are in a difficult situation and this humble contribution is a reflection of our concern.”
On Tuesday, Russian forces pressed in on Kyiv as a 35-hour curfew began after strikes on residences killed four people in the Ukrainian capital, despite a fresh round of talks aimed at halting the war.
The leaders of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovenia visited Kyiv in an act of solidarity, while the White House announced US President Joe Biden would attend summits of the EU and NATO next week.
But tensions were mounting as Russia broadened its assault across Ukraine with a huge strike on an airport. Kyiv's mayor Vitali Klitschko said the curfew was in response to an impending "dangerous moment".
Nearly three weeks into Russia's invasion of its pro-Western neighbour, more than three million have fled to neighbouring countries, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told Canadian lawmakers in a virtual address.
Ninety-seven Ukrainian children have died, he added.