Ukraine: MSF denounces repeated shelling of Kherson hospital

MSF once again condemns an outrageous attack on a medical facility in Ukraine after a hospital was hit by artillery fire and shelling.

White flag with red logo of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) against sunny blue sky

© Valérie Batselaere/MSF

KYIV, Ukraine, August 4, 2023—A hospital run by Ukraine's Ministry of Health in the Kherson region with support from Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was hit by artillery fire today after previously being shelled on August 1.

MSF has repeatedly called for the protection of hospitals and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine and once again condemns this outrageous attack on a medical facility. When the hospital was shelled today, an MSF staff member was working in the hospital bunker, which MSF logistical teams continue to refurbish.

“I felt a powerful explosion as a shell landed on the premises of the medical facility where MSF works," said Andrii Dobravskyi, MSF operational adviser. "At the time of the blast, I was inside the bomb shelter, overseeing general repair works. Our team has arranged a suitable bunker in this hospital for the Ministry of Health staff and patients. After the dust settled, I went upstairs and saw that the shell had struck the morgue, causing damage to concrete structures and gas pipes. There were approximately 150 people in the medical facility at the time of the shelling, including staff and patients. Fortunately, both staff and patients were unharmed. I want to emphasize that the hospital is located in a residential area, with a school and apartment buildings nearby.”

The previous attack on August 1 resulted in the death of a doctor and the wounding of five medical staff, all employed by the Ministry of Health.

"The message is simple: stop bombing hospitals."

Since February 24, 2022, MSF has repeatedly called for the protection of medical facilities after witnessing their destruction in Kherson, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, and Mikolaiv regions. This latest attack on a hospital is consistent with a pattern that MSF has observed in this war, particularly with regard to Russian forces’ continued shelling of civilian infrastructure, residential areas, and medical structures.

“How many times must we see the same thing?" said Cyril Cappai, MSF head of mission. "What does it even mean to be a caregiver or patient in this war? What will it take for those manning the guns to show a shred of respect for human life? Regardless of intent, we have repeatedly seen medical staff and civilians come under fire in this war. The message is simple: stop bombing hospitals.”