CHERNIGOV, UKRAINE – MAY 9: A medical worker searches for drugs and medical equipment in a destroyed hospital as Russian attacks continue in Chernihiv, Ukraine, May 9, 2022. . (Photo by Abdullah Unver / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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The World Health Organization on Tuesday called for an investigation into Russian attacks on medical facilities and ambulances in Ukraine.
The World Health Agency has documented 226 attacks since Russia invaded its neighbor on February 24, said Dr. Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe. At least 75 people were killed and 49 injured in the attacks, he said.
“These attacks are not justified and they are never accepted. And they need to be investigated, ”Kluge said during a press briefing at the Media Center of Ukraine in Kyiv.
WHO will contribute to any investigation that will be conducted in the future, Kluge added.
His remarks came on the 83rd day of the Russian invasion, which killed and injured thousands of civilians in Ukraine, including children. Unprovoked attacks on medical facilities and ambulances increased as the war dragged on.
The latest figure is more than double the 100 attacks confirmed by the WHO more than a month ago.
The WHO representative in Ukraine, Dr. Jarno Habicht, said that in 2021, a monthly attack on medical facilities and ambulances served a quarter of a million Ukrainians.
“So this is the impact of these attacks. And these attacks continue, which is unacceptable. There is no reason for that,” Habicht said.
He added that two-thirds of all attacks on medical facilities worldwide in 2022 occurred in Ukraine alone.
Habicht said that the WHO has taken steps to support Ukraine’s health care system. He noted that since February the agency has delivered more than 500 tons of medicines to the most affected areas of the country.
More than 50% of supplies, including medicines, ambulances and electric generators, will go to help with injuries and trauma. The WHO also provides medical kits for the treatment of those suffering from chronic diseases, and, according to Habicht, one kit can provide three months of treatment to thousands of people.
He added that the WHO is “very pleased” that some governments and partners are also supplying medical supplies to Ukraine.
Kluge called the conditions of the health care system in Ukraine both “heartfelt and inspiring.” He condemned the “destructive” effect that the Russian attack had on people’s lives, but praised Ukraine’s health workers for their commitment to those in need.
“I would like to express my gratitude and admiration to the medical workers of this country, who have shown great courage and devotion since the beginning of the war,” Kluge said. “You did the impossible. You stand firm and save lives. “