Spain takes in 25 Ukraine children with cancer

Spain on Friday took in 25 Ukrainian children with cancer who will be able to continue their treatment after it was halted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the government said.

Ukrainian children with cancer resting in a bomb shelter in Kyiv, Ukraine, February 28, 2022.
Children struggling with cancer are moved to the basement of the oncology centre used as a bomb shelter, in Kyiv on February 28, 2022. Spain has taken in 25 children from Ukraine to continue their cancer treatment. Photo: Aris Messinis / AFP

“A defence ministry flight has just landed carrying 25 Ukrainian children with cancer and their families, so they will be able to continue their treatment in Spain,” the government wrote on Twitter.

The military plane, which landed at an airfield in Madrid, was also carrying “another 22 displaced” Ukrainians who will be taken in by Spain, the defence ministry said, also on Twitter.

The children “will be treated in public hospitals specialising in treating child cancers,” said the Spanish Federation of Parents of Children with Cancer, which sponsored the children’s arrival in Spain alongside the Spanish Society for Paediatric Haematology and Oncology.

The federation said it was hoping to be able to bring more child cancer patients from Ukraine “in the coming days” along with their families who would be treated at hospitals in Barcelona, Valencia and Andalusia.

“These children need urgent medical care but also long-term treatment… we will offer all of our resources to these youngsters,” said its spokeswoman Carmen Menendez.

More than 2.5 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia began its military offensive against the country on February 24, the United Nations said on Friday.

READ ALSO: How Spain plans to house Ukrainian refugees

Member comments

  1. Good on Spain for taking in these refugees, this is the sort of help that Ukrainians desperately need from the EU.

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Ukrainian grain dodges Russian blockade to reach Spain via new route

A Ukrainian grain shipment arrived in Spain on Monday after being shipped via the Baltic Sea to circumvent Russia’s blockade, imposed following the outbreak of war, a Spanish association said.

Ukrainian grain dodges Russian blockade to reach Spain via new route

The Finnish-flagged cargo ship, the Alppila, carrying 18,000 tonnes of grain for animal feed docked at A Coruña port in northwestern Spain early on Monday, the Agafac food manufacturers association said.

It said it was the first time such a route had been used for Ukrainian grain.

Agafac, which had placed the order, said the grain had been transported by lorry to the northwestern Polish port of Swinoujscie on the shores of the Baltic Sea.

It then called in at Brunsbuettel in northern Germany before heading for Spain.

This is “the first shipment of grain to be transported via a new sea route through the Baltic Sea to circumvent the Russian naval blockade on Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea that has been in place since the war began,” Agafac said.

Contacted by AFP, a spokesman for Ukraine’s agriculture ministry was unable to confirm whether or not it was the first such shipment of Ukrainian grain to travel via the Baltic Sea.

“We don’t have information about transportation specifically to Spain. We deliver to Romania, Poland. This is probably the logistics outside Ukraine,” he said.

When Russia invaded on February 24th, it imposed a naval blockade on Ukraine’s Black Sea ports that has choked off its grain exports, threatening a global food crisis.

Before the Russian invasion, Ukraine was the world’s top producer of sunflower oil and a major wheat exporter, but millions of tonnes of grain exports remain trapped due to the blockade.

President Volodymyr Zelensky has said Ukraine is currently exporting more than two million tonnes of grain a month via rail but that figure is far below what it was exporting before the war via its ports, notably Odessa.

The United Nations and certain countries like France and Turkey have been pushing for the opening of a “security corridor” in the Black Sea to allow Ukrainian exports to resume.

At the end of May, General Christopher Cavoli, the incoming head of the US European Command, said Germany’s railway company recently set up a “Berlin train lift” — a special train service to move Ukraine’s grain exports.

He said Poland was working on a simplified border crossing regime to ease the deliveries, and once out of Poland, the grain was taken to Germany’s northern ports to be shipped onwards.