Brussels/Kyiv, 9 July 2024

Ukraine’s health care under siege: Russia’s missile attacks on largest paediatric hospital are part of a systematic assault

Russia’s missile strike on 8 July that targeted Okhmatdyt National Children’s Hospital, the largest paediatrics facility in Ukraine, and Isida, a maternity hospital in Kyiv, is part of a series of systematic assaults carried out against Ukraine health care system and aimed at terrorising civilians.  

According to the Ukraine Healthcare Center (UHC) and partner organisations, since the onset of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, at least 1,400 attacks have been registered against health care facilities, medical workers and medical infrastructure, out of which more than half have damaged or entirely destroyed hospitals. More than 200 medical workers have been killed and hundreds have been injured.  

Yesterday, when the attack on Okhmatdyt Hospital happened, I was close by witnessing the destruction and terror it caused. Shortly after, next to my daughter’s school, the Isida maternity was also targeted by another missile reducing everything to rubble and causing too many victims.” said Ruslan Havryliuk, National Facilitator of the EaP CSF Ukraine National Platform.  

Since the start of the war, Russia’s systematic and indiscriminate strikes on medical infrastructure, staff and patients in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Odesa, Kryvyi Rih, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, and many other cities and villages, large and small, have been relentless. 

As the NATO Summit kicks off in Washington today, leaders must seize the momentum and agree on Ukraine’s NATO membership path. Extending NATO’s Article 5 security guarantees to Ukraine would save precious lives and prevent further attacks like the one against Okhmatdyt.” demanded Ruslan Havryliuk.

Amid daily attacks on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure, hospitals and care facilities, we, Members of the EaP CSF Steering Committee: 

  • Stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and call on the international community, particularly NATO leaders, to take bolder decisions in continuing to provide political, humanitarian, military and financial support to Ukraine, and provide Ukraine with a clear timeline for NATO membership; 
  • Call on international prosecutors, including the International Criminal Court, to investigate and prosecute Russia’s attacks on Ukrainian health care system as both war crimes and crimes against humanity;  
  • Call on civil society to monitor and document attacks on health care facilities, medical staff and patients to build cases for their prosecution, and widely disseminate and communicate about all such cases; 
  • Call on the United Nations to appoint a Special Representative on Violence Against Health Care to address attacks on Ukraine’s health care system;  
  • Call on the World Health Organisation to suspend Russia’s voting rights;  
  • Call on the donor community to cooperate with and support international and Ukrainian civil society that ensure the provision of complementary health care services and psychological support for health workers and patients affected by attacks;  
  • Urge international humanitarian organisations to establish and maintain a robust supply chain to continue to deliver medical equipment and supplies for affected hospitals and medical facilities;  
  • Urge local and international media to continue to document strikes on civilian infrastructure, particularly health care facilities; 
  • Call for donations to be made to support the reconstruction efforts of destroyed medical facilities, including via United24, the Ukrainian government platform 

Members of the Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum  

Statement by the Steering Committee of the EaP CSF, 9 July 2024.