PSI/EPSU condemn abominable Russian strike on Children's Hospital, call for union solidarity

In a clear breach of the laws of war, Russia has yet again targeted civilian infrastructure and killed 38 people - four of whom were children - in an attack on Ukraine's largest children's health facility.

As of now, 38 people have been reported dead, including four children, in an attack on Ukraine's largest children's health facility.

PSI General Secretary Daniel Bertossa said:

“Targeting a children’s hospital and public service workers is a criminal act that must be condemned in the strongest terms. The bombing of civilians, public services and vital infrastructure is never acceptable – whether in Ukraine, Gaza or anywhere else."

Our colleagues from the Kyiv Medical Trade Union, part of PSI affiliate Ukraine Health Workers Union, have described for how since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, staff at the National Children's Specialized Hospital Okhmatdyt have come to the rescue of all Ukrainians saying: "As a result of this missile attack, unfortunately, our colleagues, trade unionists - hospital workers and small children died; medical buildings, equipment, workplaces, etc. were destroyed. Today the members of the community and the staff of the Okhmatdyt need help, both individually targeted and in general for recovery. We ask everyone who cares to contribute to the provision of financial assistance if possible."

Attacks on civilians and non-military infrastructure are illegal under international human rights law. All governments and actors have an obligation under the Geneva Conventions to protect civilians, especially those providing lifesaving services in conflict zones. Making human rights law optional or context-dependent sends a dangerous message, endangers public service workers and undermines the rights of us all.

EPSU General Secretary Jan Willem Goudriaan said:

"EPSU condemns the Russian attack on hospitals and other public service infrastructures in Ukraine. Targeting hospitals is a war crime according to the Geneva convention. Many people lost their lives, and several EPSU member health workers were injured. EPSU has been standing together with the workers in Ukraine since the first day of the invasion and will continue to support our affiliates in providing vital services for society."

Many health workers have already been killed in such attacks. As the global union federation representing health sector workers PSI is reaching out to Ukrainian comrades to determine how we can redouble global union solidarity to support their vital life saving work amidst these horrific circumstances.

PSI affiliated members in Ukraine continue to save lives despite horrific circumstances and have even helped prevent a nuclear meltdown. When the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant was bombed, members of PSI- affiliate Atomprofspilka put out the flames. As Atomprfspilka’s international officer Lesia Seminiaka points out “any explosion, any fire, any strike could provoke a big tragedy, another ecological disaster.” 

The deplorable Russian tactic of ‘double shelling’ represents a clear attack on our comrades in Ukraine’s emergency services who seek to rescue the injured and are targeted by follow-up strikes as a result.

Yuri Pizhuk State Employees Union of Ukraine

For us, solidarity is as important as a cup of hot tea for someone who is freezing, a ray of sunlight for those hiding in a basement

On a call PSI organised with Ukrainian unionists, Yuri Pizhuk of the State Employees Union told us, “This war is not only about territory. It is about the right to a free life, to decent work, democracy and freedom of choice… one can blow up a school or maternity clinic or burn down a building… but that will not break us. For us, solidarity is as important as a cup of hot tea for someone who is freezing, a ray of sunlight for those hiding in a basement.”

PSI and EPSU reiterate our calls for unions around the world to provide support Ukrainian comrades through our joint solidarity fund.

Any unions interested in setting up a solidarity call with members Ukraines affiliates to share stories with members and ideas for further solidarity actions should contact and