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Mainstream, VOL LX No 11, New Delhi, March 5, 2022

South Asian Doctors call for immediate cessation of war between Russia and Ukraine | 28 February 2022

Saturday 5 March 2022

Joint statement by the South Asian affiliates of IPPNW on Russia Ukraine conflict

Date: 28.02.2022

Various affiliates of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) from South Asian countries have expressed grave concern at the serious health and humanitarian crisis due to war between Russia and Ukraine. Affiliates who participated in a virtual meet include Pakistan Doctors for Peace and Development (PDPD), Physicians for Social Responsibility Nepal (PSRN), Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) Bangladesh, Sri Lankan Doctors for Peace and Development (SDPD) and Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD). In a joint statement they said that as medical doctors we are much concerned about the humanitarian crisis due to war between the two countries. It has been estimated that the fighting could kill 25,000 to 50,000 civilians, 5,000 to 25,000 Ukrainian military personnel, and 3,000 to 10,000 Russian soldiers. It could also generate 1 to 5 million refugees. Any escalation could lead to use of nuclear weapons which would be catastrophic. The studies conducted by IPPNW have shown that even a limited nuclear exchange would put over two billion people at risk. Such a war at this moment may not remain localised to Europe alone. With direct or indirect participation of the US and NATO in the conflict, the danger lies that it will lead to involvement of other countries in the time to come.

The statements made by the Ukrainian government about the acquisition of nuclear weapons. Russia, which has nuclear weapons, has actually hinted at their possible use. Both Russia and the United States, that backs the Ukrainian government, are major nuclear possessing countries. The nuclear weapons could be launched by misunderstanding, by accident or otherwise. Any attack on Chernobyl or at any other nuclear plant would be disastrous.

Continuation of war will push the whole world, particularly the low and middle income countries, who are badly affected economically by the COVID Pandemic, into deep crisis.

Therefore it is urgently needed that the two countries reach a diplomatic solution to the crisis through mutual dialogue and confidence building measures.

We demand immediate cessation of Russian military operations and withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine.

We also demand respect to the work of doctors, nurses and other health care workers.

Respective governments of South Asia should to take immediate measures to bring back their citizens from the war zones.

It is time the United Nations should come forward and take effective steps to stop this war and help in negotiating wide-ranging peace talks covering all the relevant issues and concerns of both Russia and Ukraine.

We also urge all the governments around the world to come forward to restore peace. India as a leader of the Non-Aligned movement in the past should play an active role towards seeking a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Whereas we support protests by citizens in Russia, who are opposed to war and appeal to all the peace-loving citizens and organisations to come forward and raise voce against war.

Signatories:

Dr Arun Mitra – Co President IPPNW

Dr S S Soodan – Regional Vice President IPPNW South Asia

Dr Kamrul H Khan – Deputy Chair International Council IPPNW

Dr Tipu Sultan – President Pakistan Doctors for Peace and Development

Dr Asoka Hettiaracchhi – President Sri Lankan Doctors for Peace and Development

Dr Sharad Onta – President Physicians for Social Responsibility Nepal

Dr Shakeel Ur Rahman – General Secretary Indian Doctors for Peace and Development

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