(The Hill) – The State Department will assist in the evacuation of four Ukrainian pediatric cancer patients to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in the United States amid the Russian invasion.
“Our partnership with, and commitment to, the people of Ukraine is steadfast and enduring,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement released Tuesday.
“To that end, the Department of State has coordinated with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to provide necessary life-saving and immediate care to four Ukrainian children whose ongoing cancer treatment was disrupted by President Putin’s war of choice.”
Price added that the department will assist in airlift operations from Poland of the patients and some of their family members to the international airport in Memphis, Tenn.
From there, the patients and their families will be taken to St. Jude.
“There, the patients will be able to safely resume critical cancer therapy disrupted by the Kremlin’s aggression. They will receive the specialized care they desperately need, and their family members will be afforded sustenance, security, and support from St. Jude,” Price said.
The news comes amid Russia’s ongoing and violent invasion of Ukraine.
Since the beginning of the Russian offensive, Ukrainian officials have reported attacks targeting civilians and civilian structures in the former Soviet state, including on hospitals, schools and places of worship.
Earlier this month, Ukrainian officials confirmed that three people were killed and 17 were injured after a maternity hospital was shelled in Mariupol, Ukraine. Russia originally denied the attack, but later said that it would look into the incident.
A few days later, Ukrainian officials alleged that the Russian military had shelled a cancer hospital. At the time, a doctor at the hospital said that the building was damaged, but no one was killed.
Most recently, the World Health Organization reported six more attacks on Ukrainian health care facilities, bringing the total number of attacks to 52 since the start of the war.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has stated that these attacks have amounted to war crimes.
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U.S. officials have begun accusing Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine as well, marking a shift in rhetoric after the Biden administration resisted the label for weeks.
“Russia is the aggressor here and I think we have seen here at the Pentagon — we’re certainly seeing clear evidence that the Russian military is conducting war crimes,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told “Fox and Friends” on Tuesday.