Several lawmakers called for the creation of a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which was put forward today by Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov in a debate with European lawmakers.
(UPDATED, 12:37) The lawmaker also spoke of the need for possibly the toughest sanctions or a swift international investigation into Russian attacks on civilian objects. Many of them called Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal, called Reznikov.
Since the start of Russia’s three-week invasion, the European Union has imposed four packages of unprecedentedly severe sanctions against Moscow and provided arms and other aid to Ukraine. The Ukrainian minister reiterated today that his country would be very concerned about the establishment of a no-fly zone, which would limit the possibility of Russian attacks, especially against civilian buildings.
“Our air defense did everything in its power, but it was not enough. That is why we saw this terrible devastation and we lost many more lives,” Reznikov told lawmakers.
About 40 lawmakers sent a letter to EU leaders and diplomats on Tuesday calling for the creation of a no-fly zone and humanitarian corridor for Mariupol in the country’s southeast, which has killed several thousand people.
“We cannot just watch the suffering of innocent people. President Putin has chosen the scorched earth tactic and brutally attacks the civilian population. We have to react somehow. Ukraine is also fighting for our freedom,” said People’s MEP Michaela ojdrová, who initiated the call. signed mainly by deputies from the eastern wing countries of the European Union.
However, the possibility of establishing a no-fly zone is more of a problem for NATO, and most of its member states are reluctant to fear that Putin could shift the war outside of Ukraine in response to the firing of a Russian missile or plane. The European Parliament stressed that a no-fly zone would be a humanitarian act, not an act of war, if created with Kiev’s approval.
Reznikov also called on lawmakers today to label Putin a war criminal. The label was first used publicly by US President Joe Biden in connection with Russian attacks on civilian buildings, while EU officials remain in the same court.
“Putin is a war criminal, as are many of his colleagues,” said MEP Liberal Lithuanian Petras Auštrevičius, who was joined by several others.
Russia’s attacks in Ukraine have been investigated by the International Criminal Court, which is examining whether some of them can be classified as war crimes or crimes against humanity.
(9:50, original) Medical facilities were targeted, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned. In the first part of the year, there was the highest number of attacks on health care facilities in history worldwide. The WHO has verified 89 attacks on medical facilities in the first 75 days of this year – including 43 attacks in Ukraine, writes The Independent. According to him, Ukraine’s health care system is “balancing on the edge”.
“Health is the target in this situation, it is part of war strategy and tactics. This is completely unacceptable,” said WHO Crisis Coordinator Mike Ryan. “This is against international humanitarian law,” he said.
Based on this right, parties to a conflict must take steps to ensure that they do not attack healthcare professionals even unintentionally.
“The health care system in Ukraine is hobbling. He is doing very well, but we need to support him, strengthen him, give him the basic tools to save lives,” Ryan added.
“Unacceptable” attacks on healthcare -that means #war crimes– is “becoming a part of war strategy & tactics” @WHO warn. It has verified 43 attacks on hospitals & medical facilities in #Ukraine& 46 elsewhere in another conflict.#NoTarget https://t.co/1Qt7yeN7pO pic.twitter.com/ZXPRULOtI7
— Lotte Leicht (@LotteLeicht1) March 16, 2022
In addition to the 43 attacks in Ukraine, the World Health Organization verified attacks on medical facilities in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Congo, Libya, Nigeria, Palestine, Sudan and Syria in the first months of this year, writes The Independent. 35 people died and 53 were injured.
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