Ukraine: Kherson hospital shelled twice in 72 hours

07 Aug 2023

On Saturday, 4th  August, the same hospital that was shelled on Tuesday, 1sdt August, in Kherson Region, Ukraine, resulting in the death of a doctor and the wounding of five medical staff, is once again under artillery fire. 

The fact that the first attack was widely reported and condemned appears to have changed nothing in the way the hospital and the surrounding areas are being shelled.

Médecins Sans Frontières (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.

As sirens signalled incoming artillery fire, Andrii Dovravsky, MSF Operational Adviser, 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. 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 emphasise that the hospital is located in a residential area, with a school and apartment buildings nearby.”

Andrii Dobravskyi
MSF Operational Adviser
Hospital shelled in Kherson

The damage to a hospital located in Kherson oblast, shelled for the second time in 72 hours. Ukraine, 4 August 2023. © Andrii Dobravskyi/MSF

Just kilometres from the frontline, in territory re-taken by Ukrainian forces last year, the hospital has now been shelled twice in 72 hours. Since 24 February, 2022, MSF has repeatedly called for the protection of medical facilities after witnessing their destruction in Kherson, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv and Mikolaiv oblasts. 

This latest attack on a hospital is consistent with a pattern that MSF has observed in this war – and 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? 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.”

Cyril Cappai
MSF Head of Mission