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Russia’s attacks on Ukrainian hospitals ‘are war crimes’

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Responding to the horrific scenes from the Russian missile strike on Kyiv’s Okhmatdyt Children’s Hospital, the European Cancer Organisation has issued the following statement:

Russia’s military targeting of children, hospitals and healthcare facilities is appalling. Our hearts go out to all who have been harmed, including the most vulnerable of patients, healthcare professionals, parents and families. This attack stiffens our resolve to work with our member societies, patient organisations and others in giving help to cancer patients and professionals in Ukraine now and in the long term.

ECO is monitoring the further developments from this latest attack closely and is consulting with our partners in Ukraine to better understand emerging needs. We will continue to collaborate closely with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) through our Emergencies & Crises Network of over 400 organisation representatives worldwide to leverage global support for Ukraine’s health and cancer care systems.

These attacks on health facilities are war crimes, unequivocally. We call for the necessary procedures to be initiated promptly so that the perpetrators can be brought to justice. In our representations to the new European Parliament and European Commission currently taking office, we will reiterate the united calls from Europe’s cancer community to sustain financial support for Ukraine, including for maintenance and reconstruction of cancer services.

Humanity must triumph over barbarity and we all must play our part in achieving that.

The European External Action Service has stated that ‘by targeting Okhmatdyt, a symbol of Ukraine’s childcare medicine and treatment of children cancer, and attacking children, who are the most vulnerable, Russia once again demonstrates its cruelty and that it is utterly insincere about peace and peace negotiations.

‘Under international humanitarian law, hospitals enjoy special protection. Children are never and can never be a legitimate target; they must be protected at all times. 

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‘For the past two and a half years Russia has been continuously terrorising Ukraine’s population by waging its illegal war of aggression, intentionally targeting innocent civilians and civilian infrastructure massively across Ukraine’s territory, with large scale missiles and drone attacks, increasingly using glide bombs.

‘Deliberate attacks on civilians and civil objects which do not constitute a military objective may constitute war crimes and may amount to crimes against humanity. These and other war crimes are subject of international investigations, including at the ICC. Russia’s leadership, all commanders, perpetrators and accomplices of these atrocities will be held to account’.

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