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Global Violence Prevention SIG position statement on the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation

We strongly condemn the actions of the Russian Federation for their unprovoked invasion of the democratic state of Ukraine. This attack violates international law and will inevitably lead to devastating humanitarian consequences for the civilian population of Ukraine.

The cost of this unjustified attack in terms of casualties and human suffering will be immense, creating a humanitarian crisis in Europe. Damage to infrastructure and utilities caused by indiscriminate warfare will lead to loss of essential services for those remaining in Ukraine. The health system is already fragile due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as a recent outbreak of poliomyelitis.[1] It is likely that many will struggle to access the healthcare they require if the violence continues to escalate.

In the first week of the invasion the United Nations Refugee Agency reports that over one million Ukrainian refugees have fled the country.[2] It is estimated that this figure could rise to as many as four million, the majority of whom being women and children. This displacement, enforced encampment and lack of access to health care will affect both the physical and mental health of those involved with the potential for long term morbidity and mortality.[3]

The European Union (EU) has relaxed its visa rules on refugees as it tries to cope with the sheer numbers fleeing the violence. Within the EU, Ukrainian refugees will receive access to housing, medical treatment and schooling for up to three years. It is imperative that there are easily accessible, safe and legal routes for Ukrainian refugees to enter the UK.

We stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people during this terrible time and call on the Russian Federation to end the invasion and acknowledge the wishes of the population of Ukraine to be an independent and sovereign nation.[4] This is an essential time for the UK government to welcome those who are displacedĀ from Ukraine and to ensure that a comprehensive support system is in place to bestĀ support their wellbeing.

[1] WHO/Europe statement on Ukraine (24 February 2022)


[3] Documenting the Effects of Armed Conflict on Population Health Barry S. Levy and Victor W. Sidel Annual Review of Public Health 2016 37:1, 205-218


Published 09 March 2022

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