WASHINGTON â (AP) â A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers is calling on the Biden administration to establish field hospitals near the Ukrainian border and boost medical support for what is expected to last a month war of attrition waged by Russia.
Ukrainian-aligned forces have suffered thousands of casualties since Russia invaded on February 24. And Russian strikes on hospitals and other non-military targets killed large numbers of civilians and strained Ukraine’s ability to care for the sick and injured. The Associated Press has documented three dozen Russian attacks on medical facilitieshitting doctors, patients and even newborn babies.
More than a dozen House members wrote to the Secretary of State on Friday Antoine Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin asking the United States to fill in the gaps in Ukraine’s medical infrastructure. Measures recommended by the group include opening field hospitals in eastern Poland, supplying Ukraine with armored ambulances and transporting some sick and wounded to the US Military Regional Hospital in Landstuhl. , in western Germany.
“We’re going to have to really step up our efforts to relieve combat casualties and civilian casualties that will come in the weeks and months ahead,” said Rep. Jason Crow, a Democrat from Colorado who recently visited Poland and other countries in the region.
Representative Joe Wilson, a Republican from South Carolina, said in a statement that “we must stand united and provide Poland and our other NATO partners with the medical and health assistance necessary to alleviate the suffering of the people. Ukrainian”.
With diplomatic efforts having made little public progress so far, most observers believe the war in eastern Ukraine could drag on into the summer. President Joe Biden has pledged to the United States strengthens its support for Ukraine while not sending US troops to Ukraine and avoiding actions that the White House sees as drawing Russian President Vladimir Putin into direct conflict with Washington. The deployment of American doctors and nurses in eastern Poland could be risky in the event of a strike near the border.
Crow said he supports Biden’s decision not to send troops or establish a no-fly zone on certain parts of Ukraine to limit the risk of escalation with Russia. But providing medical support should not be seen as an escalation, he said.
After do not take kyiv and other major cities in Ukraine, Russia moved its forces into a battle centered on southern and eastern Ukraine. Putin seems to be focused on a facade in the shape of a boomerang across much of Ukraine’s Donbass region, bombarding military sites as well as hospitals and other known shelters for civilians.
Ukraine resisted Putin’s offensive longer than most countries expected. An estimated 2,000 soldiers remain locked in a sprawling steel factory in the key port city of Mariupol, which Russia is about to take after bombing and shelling it for weeks. Biden on Thursday announced an additional $1.3 billion in new weapons and economic aid.
Even hundreds of miles from the front line, field hospitals in eastern Poland, staffed by American and Western personnel, could ease the burden on Ukraine and “ensure the sustainability of this conflict”, he said. said Crow, a former army ranger.
“The Ukrainians simply do not have the capacity to care for tens of thousands of combat casualties over the months,” he said.
Asked about Ukraine’s medical needs, State Department spokesman Ned Price noted that the United States provides “the Ukrainian government with resources that it can use as it sees fit.” A Pentagon spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
AP Diplomatic Writer Matt Lee contributed to this report.
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