Report: Russia Is Targeting Ukraine’s Healthcare Facilities With Impunity

Report: Russia Is Targeting Ukraine’s Healthcare Facilities With Impunity

Yale University’s Humanitarian Research Lab noted that it does not take a position as to whether these attacks are “indiscriminate” or “deliberate” but says that they constitute war crimes either way.  


Russia’s willingness to target civilian areas in Ukraine, such as apartment complexes and residential areas, using unguided missiles, rockets, and bombs, is now well known and widely documented, and has been condemned by dozens of countries.

These attacks, which have killed large numbers of children since the beginning of the war, have also been accompanied by documented reports of atrocities and war crimes committed against Ukrainian soldiers and non-combatants. 


Beneath the surface of these more visible and broadly recognized direct attacks against children and other innocent Ukrainian victims, there is also growing evidence of lesser-known atrocities such as the systematic bombing of Ukrainian healthcare facilities, museums, cultural heritage sites, and educational institutions. 

Detailed reports from the Yale School of Public Health’s Humanitarian Research Lab (HRL) published since the beginning of Russia’s invasion have used satellite photos and large amounts of aggregated open-source evidence to show the extent of the devastation inflicted by Russian forces. 

One report published earlier this year examined systematic Russian attacks against Ukrainian healthcare facilities. The report stated that from February to March 2022, twenty-two Ukrainian healthcare facilities were attacked, according to evidence cross-corroborated by satellite imagery and open source information.

“The HRL verified damage through cross-corroboration of very high resolution satellite imagery and open source information. Based on a review of nearly 300 facilities across five cities and regions, the HRL has concluded that Russia-aligned forces have engaged in widespread and systematic bombardment of Ukrainian healthcare facilities,” a summary of the report explained. 

The HRL report noted that it does not take a position as to whether these attacks are “indiscriminate” or “deliberate” but says that they constitute war crimes either way.  

“The initial report does not attempt to determine whether an individual incident of a healthcare facility being bombarded is the result of indiscriminate fire or intentional targeting. It is important to note that both indiscriminate and intentional targeting of healthcare facilities can constitute a war crime,” the HRL report stated. 

For instance, the HRL report identified as many as fourteen healthcare facilities in the city of Mariupol that were either totally or partially destroyed by Russian attacks. Healthcare facilities in other cities were identified as well, including Kyiv, Izyum, and Chernihiv.  According to the summary statistics detailed in the report, the destruction of healthcare facilities in these areas is also accompanied by damage to surrounding neighborhoods. 

Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Master’s Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Image: Reuters.