‘It’s the same’ Russia attacks Ukrainian hospitals as Putin reuses tactics from Syria

Ukraine forces down Russian helicopter with two missiles

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Russian forces have strategically targeted hospitals in Ukraine in a brutal plan to destroy medical facilities across the nation.

The strikes have resulted in huge civilian casualties, including among children and pregnant women in maternity wards.

Dr Hamza Al-Kateab who founded a hospital in Aleppo during Russian involvement in the Syrian conflict said he was not surprised by Putin’s military tactics.

The co-founder of the campaign Action for Sama said Russia would likely go unpunished by the international community for the civilian attacks due to the complexity of UN accountability measures.

Speaking of his experience in Syria, Dr Al-Kateab said: “The hospitals I managed had been targeted at least three times during the period between 2014 and 2016. 

“The massive one was on the 27th April 2016, when it caused 53 deaths.”

The doctor said the same devastation was now being mirrored in Ukraine as Putin targets hospitals and other civilian healthcare centres with military airstrikes.

He added: “It continues, the same tactic.”

Dr Al-Kateab explained the scene in Syria: “At the beginning of the siege of Aleppo, they targeted healthcare facilities and destroyed nine out of ten hospitals inside Aleppo.

“Remaining was only one hospital which was targeted separately on a daily basis, trying to basically wipe away any hope for the civilians who were trapped and besieged in the city.”

Russia has continued the brutal campaign of civilian attacks in Putin’s invasion of Ukraine as the UN estimates there have already been 8,462 civilian casualties of the war.

Dr Al-Kateab added: “I’m a little bit surprised, or kind of shocked, that most of the people, the responses to what is going on in Ukraine, are shocked.

“It shouldn’t be a surprise because the same perpetrators, the same Russian army, were targeting, through their aircrafts, our hospitals in Syria.”

Read more: Ukraine may be forced to retreat from Donbas as Putin gains ground …

Dr Al-Kateab suggested the strikes on Ukrainian healthcare facilities had been drastically underreported as the invasion has created chaos for normal investigative procedure.

He continued: “It’s not about where it’s happening, it’s about the war criminals doing the same thing, using their own strategy that, unfortunately, works for them because there is no accountability for a single case at the moment.

“The numbers of the attacks on healthcare facilities in Ukraine are shocking – up to today, there has been more than 164 attacks on healthcare facilities in Ukraine.

“It’s only the one very famous attack that was widely published in the media about the maternity hospital, but there is 163 more, it is still not documented well.

“The Russian army are still getting away with it.”

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In response to the attacks in Ukraine,  the doctor described his devastation that Russian forces had, again, targeted helpless civilians trapped in the war.

He said: “It’s so overwhelming because I truly believe they will also get away with it this time. 

“It’s been happening for 11 years in Syria, now it’s nearly 6 months in Ukraine.”

Dr Al-Kateab suggested it was unlikely Russian forces would face prosecution or any severe consequences for the war crimes committed against civilians in both Syria and Ukraine.

He added: “The way how the international community mechanism works and the UN accountability mechanism works takes years and years even, really, to start an attempt for accountability.”

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