A full-scale war has been unfolding in Ukraine since February 24, 2022. The Russian Armed Forces damaged dozens of hospitals and attacked medical professionals for the past weeks. However, not only medical professionals and institutions suffer: in besieged Mariupol, a child died of dehydration for the first time in decades. In the occupied territories, women give birth at home because there is no possibility to get to the medical institutions.
An independent think tank, the Ukrainian Healthcare Center (UHC), records cases of shelling of the medical facilities, attacks on ambulances, and casualties among healthcare workers in Ukraine.
Russian forces continue to destroy Ukraine’s Healthcare. Russia is deliberately provoking a humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. The bombing of private homes, schools, and hospitals have no military justification.
The humanitarian catastrophe is a part of Russia’s hybrid war. The aggressor intends to spread panic, create a flow of refugees at the borders and force the Ukrainian government to surrender.
As of March 27, our team has documented at least 76 cases* of attacks on healthcare infrastructure in Ukraine. As a result, at least 76 healthcare facilities have already been damaged and 7 healthcare facilities have already been completely destroyed.
Medical institutions in Luhansk, Kyiv and Kharkiv region have been subjected to the heaviest attacks in recent days.
As a result of hostilities by the Russian army, the Irpin City Outpatient Clinic and the new Medical Center, which are located just 21 km from the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv, were bombed. The occupiers seized some medicines and previously imported humanitarian aid.
On March 5, a unit of Chechen Kadyrov security forces (“Kadyrovtsy”, a term used by the Chechen population to identify paramilitary units supporting the former Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov) entered the Borodyanka Psychoneurological Facility with a geriatric ward. They mined all entrances to the facility and fired artillery from there at the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. There were more than 670 patients in the institution; 100 are not transportable. All of them, along with the staff, became hostages.
On March 7, a cruise missile was shot down over the Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital, damaging a window and nearly breaking down a door. Three severely injured children couldn’t make it to the hospital and died in ambulances the day before. However, the hospital’s personnel continue to work, provide dialysis and maintain a patriotic mood.
On March 9, Russian troops fired missiles at the Maternity Hospital and a Children’s Hospital in Mariupol. The building collapsed, some of the patients – and among them children – were buried in the rubble.
Sometimes it is impossible to track the condition and damage of some medical institutions due to the fact that they are located in temporarily occupied territories. For instance, as of March 23, 2022, in the occupied Trostyanets of the Sumy region, women give birth at home, because there is no possibility to get to the Hospital. The Trostyanets City Hospital was repeatedly shelled. The occupiers stole the last ambulance and now it is physically impossible to provide medical care to people who cannot get to the hospital on their own.
Despite constant shelling and threats, medical institutions in Ukraine continue to operate 24/7 and provide medical care where possible. They work despite shattered windows and a lack of electricity.
Since the beginning of the war, 9 doctors have been killed, and 31 have been wounded. For instance, 6 doctors were wounded after cluster bombs hit Vuhledar (this type of weapon is forbidden, this attack is a war crime). There have already been 25 attacks on healthcare personnel.
Due to the shelling, some medics are unable to reach their patients. Medical professionals are fighting for each life under a constant threat.
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