Health Professionals Targeted in Ukraine Violence

Map of Ukraine

Ukrainian doctors and paramedics fearing for their lives have appealed to the international community for help amid claims they are being deliberately targeted by police during bloody clashes between riot police and anti-government protestors in Kiev.

International rights monitoring groups as well as local non-governmental organisations have documented scores of attacks and injuries to members of the Red Cross, doctors, and volunteer health workers treating the wounded and injured over the past few weeks.

Initially largely peaceful, the protests, which began in November, 2013, turned deadly in January this year after the sudden passage of controversial anti-demonstration laws.

But while some observers had predicted Ukraine's riot police would eventually move brutally against activists, the attacks on health-care workers who have been treating not only protestors, but also injured officers, came as a shock to their victims. Alexander Pyvovarov, a volunteer physician who himself was injured when beaten by police as he tried to stop officers hurting a protestor, told The Lancet: “The targeting by police was both shocking and disappointing as we had already appealed to them at the start of the protests not to hurt medics. It was also disappointing in that we, myself in particular, had already given treatment to police officers ourselves…Now we are scared and work in fear for our lives.”

The full article continues at on The Lancet’s website.