The UK is sending more ambulances and further funding to train Ukrainian doctors to deal with mass casualties, Boris Johnson has announced.
More fire engines and medical supplies are also being donated to Ukraine as part of the government’s continuing support for the country more than two months after Russia first invaded.
As part of the support, the prime minister announced 22 new ambulances will be sent to Ukraine, in addition to 20 sent by NHS trusts three weeks ago.
They will be equipped with paramedic kits and medical grab bags and are set to leave for Ukraine in the coming days.
More than 135 attacks on healthcare facilities
Kyiv requested the ambulances, medical supplies and mass casualty training as there have been more than 135 attacks on healthcare facilities since the invasion started on 24 February.
The UN has recorded about 4,800 civilian casualties in the nearly nine weeks since Russia invaded, including 2,072 deaths and 2,818 injuries. The actual figures are expected to be much higher.
Medical aid charity UK-Med will receive funding of up to £300,000 from the Foreign Office to help train Ukrainian doctors, nurses and paramedics on how to deal with mass casualties.
The charity will set up mobile health clinics to support the most vulnerable civilians who have not fled Ukraine.
£300,000 worth of medicines and pharmaceutical supplies are also being donated to the charity by the UK government – enough to support a hospital for up to six weeks.
In key developments:
- Eight people were killed in Russian shelling in the Donetsk region
- Russia claims it has destroyed oil refinery and fuel depots in Dnipro
- Ukraine says no evacuation route has been agreed for Mariupol
- Putin congratulated Emmanuel Macron on his re-election
- A total of 21,900 Russian troops have been killed in the conflict so far, according to Ukraine’s armed forces.
Fire engines arrive in Ukraine
Downing Street said two convoys of more than 40 fire engines have arrived in Ukraine, making it the largest fire deployment to ever leave the UK.
Equipment has been donated alongside the fire engines, including incident response units loaded with PPE, special rescue vehicles with rescue equipment packs, thermal imaging cameras to find victims, generators, around 300 fire hoses, floating grids, nearly 10,000 pieces of protective clothing, compressed air breathing apparatus and fire service clothing.
More than 100 fire stations and 250 fire engines have been destroyed in Ukraine since the invasion started.
Mr Johnson said: “We have all been appalled by the abhorrent images of hospitals deliberately targeted by Russia since the invasion began over two months ago.
“The new ambulances, fire engines and funding for health experts announced today will better equip the Ukrainian people to deliver vital health care and save lives.
“Together with our military support, we will help to strengthen Ukraine’s capability to make sure Putin’s brutal invasion fails.”
Seven million internally displaced people
The UK has offered about £400m in humanitarian support to Ukraine since the war started and has committed up to $1bn in loan guarantees to support multilateral development banks, such as the World Bank, to support Ukraine’s economy and help the government provide basic services.
UK-Med CEO David Wightwick, currently in Eastern Ukraine, said: “I’ve seen with my own eyes the devastating impact of this cruel war.
“Ensuring the more than seven million internally displaced people across the country have access to vital primary health care is and will continue to be of the utmost importance for many months to come.
“This very welcome funding from the UK government will enable us to continue to deliver primary health care and lifesaving specialist clinical training in both the east and the west of the country, reaching those who need it most.
“We’re proud to stand in solidarity with the people and with our Ukrainian medical colleagues in this desperate time.”