The head of the World Health Organization, Tantros Ananom Gebregesus, has called on Russia to ensure safe access to places in Ukraine controlled or besieged by its troops to allow people to receive health care.
The WHO director general stressed that he had spoken with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov about the situation in Ukraine and Russia’s role in global health issues.
“I asked for safe access to Mariupol, Hersonissos, South Zaporizhia and other besieged areas to deliver medical aid. Civilians must be protected,” Tentros said on Twitter.
Relations between the WHO and Russia have been strained since Moscow invaded Ukraine on February 24.
Member countries of the European section of the World Health Organization last week adopted a resolution that could lead to the closure of the WHO regional office in Russia and the suspension of meetings in the country, in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine
The deputy speaker of the Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, Peter Tolstoy, submitted to Parliament a list of Russia’s agreements with international bodies, including the WHO, earlier this week and suggested that the next step could be to withdraw from these players, according to Interfax.
The WHO has reported about 235 attacks on health facilities in Ukraine since the start of the war, without attributing responsibility.