By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Ukraine has accused Russian authorities of committing a crime against humanity by blocking access to affordable medicines in areas occupied by its forces since invasion in February.
Ukrainian Health Minister Viktor Liashko in an interview with Associated Press, said Russian authorities have repeatedly blocked efforts to provide state-subsidized drugs to people in occupied cities, towns and villages.
“Throughout the entire six months of war, Russia has not (allowed) proper humanitarian corridors so we could provide our own medicines to the patients that need them,” Liashko said, speaking at the Health Ministry in Kyiv late Friday.
“We believe that these actions are being taken with intent by Russia, and we consider them to be crimes against humanity and war crimes that will be documented and will be recognized,” the minister said.
Before this time, Ukrainian Government has a program that provides health care services to people with cancer and chronic health conditions.
According to United Nations and Ukrainian officials, the destruction of hospitals and infrastructure since invasion of the country, in addition to the displacement of an estimated 7 million people inside the country also have affected other forms of treatment.
The war in Ukraine has caused severe disruptions to the country’s state-run health service, which was undergoing major reforms, largely in response to the coronavirus pandemic, when Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his troops to invade on Feb. 24.
The World Health Organization said it recorded 445 attacks on hospitals and other health care facilities as of Aug. 11 that directly resulted in 86 deaths and 105 injuries.
Liashko said the secondary effects were far more severe. “When roads and bridges have been damaged in areas now controlled by the Russian forces… it is difficult to get someone who had a heart attack or a stroke to the hospital,” he said.
He added, “Sometimes, we can’t make it in time, the ambulance can’t get there in time. That’s why war causes many more casualties (than those killed in the fighting). It’s a number that cannot be calculated.”