On February 24, Russian forces invaded Ukraine. In the months following, the Russian military has been accused of violating international humanitarian laws, including the Geneva Conventions, the Hague Regulations of 1907, and international human rights laws.1 The media,2 the United Nations,3 non-governmental organizations,4 specifc countries, including the United States,5 and the international community6 have been documenting potential war crimes by Russian forces against Ukraine. In March, the U.S. Department of State formally accused Russian forces of war crimes.
Ukraine is contending with a disaster scenario, which has seen the breakdown of its medical infrastructure in some parts of the country. Ethics in disaster situations is a unique category of bioethics because it constitutes a large influx of patients in a very short amount of time, sometimes in a setting where normal infrastructures are precarious, limited, or unavailable. "is situation creates an acute shortage of medical workers and medical supplies. Over the last two-and-a-half years, the world has encountered a global disaster from the Covid-19 pandemic. However, disaster situations can also occur because of war.
Below is a selection of headlines from bioethics.com that demonstrate the range of bioethical issues encountered in Ukraine following the invasion from Russia.
February 24: “Russia Invades Ukraine on Many Fronts in ‘Brutal Act of War’” (Associated Press)
March 1: “Ukraine’s Surrogacy Industry Has Put Women in Impossible Positions” (!e Atlantic)
March 1: “’We Don’t Know How to Survive Here’: A Cancer Ward for Ukrainian Children Under Siege” (!e Guardian)
March 2: “Ukrainian Maternity Ward Moves to Basement for Shelter” (Associated Press)
March 3: “Disabled Orphans Fleeing Kyiv Received by Poles, Hungarians” (Associated Press)
March 7: “Food and Medicine Shortages in Ukraine Prompt Global Relief E#ort” (!e Wall Street Journal)
March 8: “W.H.O. Condemns Attacks on Health Care Services in Ukraine and Calls for Safe Passage for Medical Supplies” (!e New York Times)
March 9: “Airstrike Hits Ukraine Maternity Hospital, 17 Reported Hurt” (Associated Press)
March 11: “WHO: At Least 26 Ukraine Health Facilities Attacked Since Russian Invasion Began” (Axios)
March 14: “"e War Puts Ukraine’s Clinical Trials—and Patients—in Jeopardy” (Wired)
March 15: “Exclusive: Ukraine Has Started Using Clearview AI’s Facial Recognition During War” (Reuters)
March 16: “’"ey Draw Bombs, Tanks and Wishes for Peace’: Ukraine’s Child Mental Health Crisis” (!e Guardian)
March 16: “"e War in Ukraine Is a Reproductive Health Crisis for Millions” (Wired)
March 18: “Young Ukrainian Cancer Patients Get Medical Help in Poland” (Associated Press)
March 18: “Big Pharma Faces an Ethical Dilemma: Should "ey Keep Selling to Russia?” (Wired)
March 22: “Russia’s War with Ukraine Is Devastating for Ukraine’s War on TB” (NPR)
April 4: “In Ukraine, New Reports of War Crimes Emerge as Russians Retreat from Kyiv Area” (!e Wall Street Journal)
April 8: “Horrors of Ukraine’s Bucha Laid Bare on Yablunska Street” (!e Wall Street Journal)
April 8: “Doctors, Crater Disprove Russia’s Hospital Airstrike Misinfo” (Associated Press)
April 11: “"e Race to Archive Social Posts "at May Prove Russian War Crimes” (Wired)
April 11: “Mariupol Mayor Says Siege Has Killed More "an 10K Civilians” (Associated Press)
April 20: “Aid Groups Fight to Deliver Lifesaving Supplies Despite Losing Lives to Russian Shelling” (!e New York Times)
April 22: “UN: Human Rights ‘Horror Story’ Is Unfolding in Ukraine” (Axios)
April 25: “Satellite Images Reveal Another Mass Grave Site Near Mariupol” (Axios)
May 11: “At Least 3000 Have Died in Ukraine for Want of Disease Treatment: WHO” (Reuters)
May 19: “Captive Medic’s Bodycam Shows Firsthand Horror of Mariupol” (Associated Press)
May 27: “War Crimes Watch: Russia’s Onslaught on Ukrainian Hospitals” (Associated Press)
May 31: “A ‘Terrible
1. “War and International Humanitarian Law,” International Committee of the Red Cross, October 29, 2010, https://www.icrc.org/en/doc/war-and-law/over- view-war-and-law.htm.
2. “War Crimes Watch Ukraine,” Associated Press, accessed August 29, 2022, https://apnews.com/hub/war-crimes-watch-ukraine.
3. “Norweigian Judge Appointed Chair of the Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine,” United Nations, March 31, 2022, https://unric.org/en/norwegian-judge-appointed-chair-of-the-commission-of-inquiry-on-ukraine/.
4. “Ukraine: Torture, Disappearances in Occupied South” Human Rights Watch, July 22, 2022, https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/07/22/ukraine-torture-disappearances-occupied-south.
5. Press statement by Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State, “War Crimes by Russia’s Forces in Ukraine,” U.S. Department of State, March 23, 2022, https://www.state.gov/war-crimes-by-russias-forces-in-ukraine/.
6. “Statement of the ICC Prosecutor, Karim A.A. Khan QC, on the Situation in Ukraine: ‘I have decided to proceed with opening an investigation,” International Criminal Court, February 28, 2022, https://www.icc-cpi.int/news/statement-icc-prosecutor-karim-aa-khan-qc-situation-ukraine-i-have-decided-proceed-opening.