Since Russia’s invasion, the World Health Organization (WHO) has documented 43 attacks on Ukrainian hospitals and other medical institutions. The use of heavy weaponry, such as rifles, tanks, missiles, explosives, or mortars, has been involved in at least 33 attacks.
Russian airstrikes on a maternity hospital in Mariupol killed three people and injured 17 others in the immediate aftermath of the attack, but the damage was far from over.
Ukraine’s healthcare system is on the verge of collapsing
Dr. Mike Ryan, director of WHO’s health emergencies program, said that Ukraine’s healthcare system is “teetering on the brink,” as quoted by the Business Insider.
The Russian military appears to be mostly to blame for the attacks, despite the fact that the WHO has not yet done so. At least 244 medical facilities have been attacked by Russia and its allies in Syria since 2011, according to data from Physicians for Human Rights.
As stated in the report, the Geneva Convention, which states that hospitals may never be attacked, makes it illegal for anybody to assault a medical facility in any way.
300 health facilities are now under Russian control, WHO says
WHO reveals that 300 health facilities are located on or near the front lines of the conflict in Ukraine or areas currently controlled by Russia. Within a 10-kilometer radius of the battle lines, there are an additional 600 facilities.
According to Manila Bulletin, Ryan emphasized that international humanitarian law mandates that individuals engaged in combat not merely refrain from attacking or inadvertently damaging health facilities, but to take explicit precautions to prevent doing so.
He warned that destroying health facilities is akin to destroying hope and depriving people of their basic human rights. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization, agreed.
“Attacks on healthcare not only endanger lives, they deprive people of urgently-needed care and break already-strained health systems,” said Ryan, according to the report.
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