Reporting on the deepening humanitarian crisis in war-devastated Ukraine, CNN interviewed Chabad Rabbi Avraham Berkowitz, who is currently in Moldova, where Chabad-Lubavitch has been bringing thousands of Jewish refugees.

Berkowitz was quick to point out that he was just one among hundreds of Chabad emissaries on the ground doing life-saving work both within the war-torn country and outside its borders.

The rabbi provided an account of what is transpiring in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, which has been cut off from the outside world. Begging for a humanitarian corridor to be opened to the city, Berkowitz explained that “hundreds of thousands of citizens … right now are trapped and have no way to communicate. There’s no phone, there’s no heat, there’s no electricity. The situation is dire,” he said.

He stressed that they were concurrently working with tens of thousands of refugees being brought out of the country on buses, in automobile convoys and by rail.

Berkowitz went on to describe the three ad-hoc Chabad centers in Moldova alone, where the refugees are given food, clothing, lodging and assistance with continuing on to their next destination.

He reported that the World Food Program, CARE, Save the Children and other global NGOs are now partnering with Chabad, which has a strong network within the country and in bordering countries.

Berkowitz shared the experience of being approached by a young woman accompanied by both her elderly mother and her young child. “Rabbi, take the key to my apartment in Kharkov, I can’t go back,” she said. “Just help me find a new home—help us find a place where we can live in safety.”

Pointing to Ukraine’s unique position as the cradle of the Chassidic movement, he told how Ukraine’s Jews are drawing strength from the Chassidic masters who hailed from the region, notably the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—who was born in Nikolaev, Ukraine, nearly 120 years ago.

“We have to have hope that no matter how difficult it is, those who are causing this destruction that hasn’t been seen since World War II should end it now, and give peace and security to everyone that needs it,” the rabbi said.