| 13 April 2024, Saturday |

WHO report on Ukraine health emergency sparks U.S., Russia row

On Saturday, a World Health Organization study on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine sparked a dispute between the United States and Russia. Moscow claimed the report was politically motivated, while Washington demanded that it be updated as soon as possible.

The report from WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was given to the organization’s executive board, which includes representatives from both Russia and the United States.

It covered the first nine months of 2022 and listed the eight acute global health emergencies, including the situation in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion on February 24.

The report documented more than 14,000 civilian casualties, with 17.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and 7.5 million Ukrainian refugees displaced across Europe.

Of 471 attacks with heavy weapons on healthcare facilities globally, 448 occurred in Ukraine, the WHO report said.

Russia’s representative to the WHO board called it politicized and one-sided and described its references to Ukraine as unfounded accusations.

Moscow has denied targeting civilians in Ukraine since it began what it calls a special military operation, which has also devastated Ukraine’s cities, killed thousands of combatants and shaken the global economy.

Sheba Crocker, U.S. representative to the United Nations, called for an updated report to document incidents in Ukraine since September.

“Russia’s attacks … have caused unspeakable harm to civilians and critical infrastructure in Ukraine,” she told the board meeting, according to a statement from her office.

“…This senseless death and destruction falls brutally on children, the elderly, and other vulnerable groups’ access to vital health care,” Crocker added.

  • Reuters