The United States on Sunday announced a $50 million aid package to help Moldova deal with the effects of the Ukrainian refugee crisis. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the funding will support programs, training and equipment for border management and efforts to counter human trafficking. Photo courtesy U.S. Embassy in Moldova/Twitter
April 3 (UPI) -- The United States on Sunday announced a $50 million aid package to help Moldova deal with the effects of the Ukrainian refugee crisis.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said in a statement that the funding will support programs, training and equipment for border management and efforts to counter human trafficking.
The funds will also be used to combat corruption and cybercrime in Moldova, a former Soviet nation of about 3.3 million people that borders Ukraine. More than 392,000 Ukrainians have fled to Moldova since Russia invaded the country in February.
"Today, I was able to see firsthand the way your government and the Moldovan people have come together to embrace Ukrainian refugees, most of them women and children, who have been forced to leave behind everything they have and people they love to flee to safety," Thomas-Greenfield said at a joint press conference in Chisinau.
"You have welcomed them with open arms. And for this, your hospitality and generosity are now known around the world. I want you to know that, in all your efforts, you have a committed partner in the United States. We know that this assistance will go far in your hands."
Thomas-Greenfield also visited a refugee center in Moldova on Sunday where refugees can access food and other critical supplies.Her visit came as Ukraine's Defense Ministry accused Russian forces of executing civilians in the Ukrainian city of Bucha.
Last month, Interpol said that the international law enforcement agency sent a team to support Moldova officials with investigations into reports of human trafficking of Ukrainian refugees and other crimes.
Interpol said it has already received reports of human traffickers and smugglers waiting at Moldova's border with Ukraine "to prey on vulnerable populations" like unaccompanied children fleeing the Russian invasion.
More than 4.1 million refugees have fled Ukraine with the majority crossing the border into Poland, about 2.4 million. It is not known how many refugees have moved on to other countries from Poland, as it is a member of the Schengen area which allows for the ease of crossing borders in Europe.
Another 386,000 refugees have fled to Hungary while 298,00 crossed the border from Ukraine into Slovakia, both of which are also members of the Schengen area. About 636,000 refugees have fled to Romania.
Human Rights Watch issued a report Sunday in which the international non-governmental organization documented cases of Russian military forces committing war crimes against civilians in occupied areas of the Chernihiv, Kharkiv and Kyiv regions of Ukraine between Feb. 27 and March 14.
"These include a case of repeated rape; two cases of summary execution, one of six men, the other of one man; and other cases of unlawful violence and threats against civilian," according to Human Rights Watch.
"Soldiers were also implicated in looting civilian property, including food, clothing, and firewood. Those who carried out these abuses are responsible for war crimes."
Human Rights Watch said that Russian forces had previously executed five men in Bucha on March 4, before the alleged executions Ukraine's Defense Ministry had accused Russia of on Sunday.
"A witness told Human Rights Watch that soldiers forced the five men to kneel on the side of the road, pulled their T-shirts over their heads, and shot one of the men in the back of the head," according to the organization.