WHO passes resolution condemning Russia for causing health emergency in Ukraine

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The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday passed a resolution condemning Russia for causing a health emergency in Ukraine while rejecting a counterproposal from Russian representatives that did not mention their country’s role in the crisis.

The WHO resolution passed with 88 votes in favor, 12 votes against and 53 abstentions at the organization’s 75th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.

The resolution condemns Russian aggression in Ukraine and notes that the invasion is “causing a serious impediment to the health of the population of Ukraine, as well as having regional and wider than regional health impacts.” It also urges Russia to immediately cease attacks on healthcare facilities in Ukraine.

Russian officials had proposed a counter-resolution that expressed “grave concerns over the ongoing health emergency in and around Ukraine” without acknowledging Russia’s role in that emergency, but WHO member states rejected it.

Reuters reported that Ukrainian ambassador to the United Nations Yevheniia Filipenko said Russia’s resolution was a “twisted alternative reality,” while Russian deputy ambassador to the U.N. Alexander Alimov said the passed resolution was “one-sided.”

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has repeatedly called for an end to the war in Ukraine, saying the Russian assaults on health care facilities in the country “must stop.”

The WHO has tracked the number of attacks on health care facilities, systems and personnel since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.

As of Thursday, the organization’s dashboard has recorded 266 attacks on health care systems in Ukraine since the invasion began on Feb. 24. Among those incidents they have logged 239 attacks on health care facilities, which includes the bombing of a maternity hospital in the port city of Mariupol.

The WHO has recorded 76 deaths related to the attacks and 62 related injuries.

Thursday’s resolution expresses “grave concerns” with the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and “condemns in the strongest terms” the war.

The resolution also urges relevant WHO member states to continue assisting with health care operations, medical supplies and refugee programs and requests that the director-general bolster the organization’s data collection and dissemination of information on health care-related attacks in Ukraine.

 

The Hill

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