The UN health agency says it has documented 200 attacks on medical facilities as it urges warring parties to avoid targeting health clinics.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says it has “documented 200 attacks on hospitals and clinics” in Ukraine, adding that it was gathering evidence for a possible war crimes investigation.
“Intentional attacks on health facilities constitute a violation of international humanitarian law and as such – based on the investigation and attribution of the attack – amount to war crimes in all situations,” WHO Emergency Director Mike Ryan said in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Saturday.
“We continue to document and testify to these attacks…and we hope that the United Nations system, the International Criminal Court and others will conduct the necessary investigations to assess the criminal intent behind these attacks.”
Ryan, during an unannounced visit with WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told a press conference that it was the explicit responsibility of warring parties to avoid attacking health facilities .
Russia has denied previous accusations by Ukraine and Western countries of possible war crimes and also denied targeting civilians during the war.
Ryan said the 200 cases did not represent all of the attacks on Ukrainian medical facilities, only those that the WHO had verified. kyiv said there have been around 400 such attacks since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
Tedros said at the same press conference: “My message to all Ukrainian people is: ‘WHO stands with you’… We continue to call on the Russian Federation to stop this war. “
WHO member states will consider a resolution against Russia on Tuesday that includes the possible closure of a major regional office in Moscow, a document obtained by Reuters revealed last Thursday.
The draft resolution stalls ahead of tougher sanctions such as Russia’s suspension from the UN’s global health agency board, as well as a temporary freeze on its voting rights, said three diplomatic and political sources.
The draft, prepared largely by EU diplomats and submitted to the WHO Regional Office for Europe this week, follows a request from Ukraine signed by at least 38 other members, including Turkey. , France and Germany.
Moscow calls its actions since February 24 a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and rid it of what it calls anti-Russian nationalism fomented by the West.
Ukraine and the West say that Russia has launched an unprovoked war of aggression.