Updated Apr 22, 2022 - World

Lawmakers urge U.S. to aid Ukraine's battered health care system

Picture of a person standing in front of a destroyed Ukrainian hospital

A hospital in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, that was attacked by invading Russian forces on April 4. Photo: Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A bipartisan group of 17 House lawmakers is calling for the U.S. to support Ukraine's battered health care system, according to a letter sent Friday to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Why it matters: Since the start of Russia's unprovoked invasion almost two months ago, there have been at least 150 attacks on Ukrainian health facilities and 73 people have died as a result, according to the World Health Organization.

Details: The lawmakers are recommending that the U.S. send "armored ambulances," set up military field hospitals at the Polish-Ukrainian border and allow American health professionals to treat sick and wounded people.

  • They are also asking that some of those in need be sent to the U.S. military's Landstuhl regional hospital in Germany.

What they're saying: "As you are aware, the healthcare system in Ukraine is on the verge of failure," the lawmakers wrote in the letter.

  • "You have a unique opportunity to showcase American leadership by providing critical medical support to Ukrainians that will inspire other NATO states to follow suit."

The Defense Department "has provided medical equipment to Ukraine, including first aid kits and tourniquets, and we are considering what additional assistance could be provided" since the start of the invasion, spokesperson Tony Semelroth said in a statement to Axios.

  • "In addition, DoD is coordinating with European Allies who are providing medical support or considering future support," Semelroth added.
  • The State Department did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

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