Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine was also condemned at the World Health Assembly in Geneva.
the essentials in brief
- World Health Assembly calls for an end to attacks on health facilities.
A resolution tabled by Ukraine condemning Russia’s “alleged aggression” in the neighboring country “in the strongest possible terms” was passed on Thursday by the votes of 88 World Health Organization (WHO) member states.
It calls on Russia to stop all attacks on hospitals in Ukraine immediately. The text does not provide for specific sanctions against Moscow. Twelve countries voted against the resolution. 53 states, particularly from Africa, themselves.
The Russian Deputy Ambassador Alexander Alimov then criticized the decision in the plenum as discrimination against his country. “It is unacceptable to use the WHO as a basis for stigmatizing a country,” Alimov said. The text of the resolution contains numerous allegations that are “not based on facts”.
“Russia will bring peace to Ukraine,” the Deputy Ambassador assured. Any attempts to “isolate or blame the Russian Federation because of the health situation in the country” are therefore “unacceptable”.
For its part, Russia is submitting a resolution on the situation in Ukraine, which made no mention of the Russian invasion. Only 15 countries voted in favor of the resolution text submitted jointly with Syria, while 66 countries voted against.
On behalf of the EU, French Ambassador Jérôme Bonnafont criticized the Russian draft resolution as a “cynical attempt to distort the facts”. Poland’s Ambassador Zbigniew Czech, whose country has taken in around 3.5 million Ukrainian war refugees, said in the plenum: “Let’s be honest: what we are witnessing is genocide.”
According to a count by the WHO, there have been 256 attacks on health facilities in Ukraine so far. 75 health workers are killed. Based on this information, investigations into war crimes could be initiated.
Ambassador of Ukraine Yevheniya Filipenko stressed that the health effects of the Ukraine war reached far beyond her homeland. “The export of millions of grain will be blocked, which will affect the very poorest,” said Filipenko, referring to the blockade of the Ukrainian Black Sea ports by Russia, which led to a massive global increase in grain prices.
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