Between silence and calls for investigation of Russian war crimes

On July 8th Russia launched another missile barrage against Ukraine. According to the Ukrainian Air Forces Command almost 40 cruise missiles of different types were launched, 30 of them were shot down.

Unfortunatelly, some of the missiles have reached their targets. This time it was not energy infrastructure or pure military object, but a children’s hospital Okhmatdyt, the biggest in Ukraine. As the Kyiv officials stated – at least 36 people died and around 140 injured as a result, many of them are kids. This number is not final as there are people still under the debris of hospital building.

Some of the international organizations reacted on Russian strike on Okhmatdyt children’s hospital, but the reaction was really different.

Ukrainian branch of ICRC wrote in their X account: “We are shocked & saddened by reports of casualties & a children’s hospital struck in Kyiv. This hospital provides life-saving treatment to thousands of children. Our thoughts are with those affected. No child should have to experience this”. Global ICRC added that statement that hospitals, health care workers, and patients are not a target. Again avoiding the most important detail – who was behind the attack.

Meanwhile the UN tried to be more precise in their words, but also failed to name the aggressor and the country behind the attack. Their reaction was limited to “Dozens of civilians have been killed and a children’s hospital in Kyiv was destroyed”. Some stark contrast with UN Ukraine, who clearly pointed to Russia. In their post they wrote: “UN agencies moved fast to support those impacted by the wave of Russian aerial assaults that left dozens of people killed or injured across Ukraine today.” They also mentioned that all UN bodies like UNICEF, WHO and UNFPA immediately arrived to the site to provide some humanitarian aid, and psychological support.

Same time, UNICEF tried to avoid direct blames. The organization posted: “UNICEF is already providing emergency supplies to Okhmatdyt Hospital and stands ready to assist communities affected by today’s attacks.”, said UNICEF Chief Catherine Russel, commenting “the deadly strikes on Ukraine’s largest medical centre for children”.

Human Rights Watch published a tread written by Rachel Denber, Deputy Director, Europe and Central Asia division of HRW, where she wrote “Today Russian forces attacked Ukraine with a massive barrage of missiles, killing dozens & injuring many more. One hit Ukraine’s largest children’s hospital, in Kyiv, killing and injuring civilians. It is a horrific scene of civilian suffering.” She also reminded that under international humanitarian law, hospitals may not be the objects of attacks. To direct an attack against a hospital is a war crime. “The strike that hit the hospital in Kyiv today needs to be investigated as a possible war crime”, concluded Denber.

International organizations need to stop this kind of policy and finally start to call the real name of the aggressor. And it’s Russia.

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