We, Russian doctors, nurses and paramedics, firmly oppose the military action carried out by the Russian armed forces on Ukrainian territory.
We are not seeking to accuse the perpetrator and do not judge anyone. Our mission is to preserve human life. So it is hard to imagine a more humane profession than that of a medic. And right now, at this hard time for both countries, we call for an immediate cessation of all armed hostilities and the resolution of all political issues by solely peaceful means.
As in all times, we do not divide the fighters into our friends and foes. We swore an oath to give aid to all people, regardless of nationality, faith or political views. But now our aid is not enough. The war will take many lives, will damage so many futures and we will not be able to help everyone no matter how hard we try. Screaming in pain, calling for their mothers, all in the same language.
Every shell or bullet, even if it doesn’t hit the target and take someone’s life, is loaded with fear, panic and pain. Heart-rending pain. Everyone’s heart now aches. The peaceful civilians. The soldiers. The soldiers’ mothers and wives. The children. Nobody deserves this fear. Nobody deserves to be killed or maimed. Deliberately or by accident.
In the territories under attack are our relatives, friends, patients and colleagues. There is not one person among them who stands to benefit from the bloodshed. We cannot isolate ourselves from the pain and the suffering that are multiplying by the minute.
Human life is priceless. A moment is enough to kill a person in war, while the treatment and recovery of the injured can take years. And we will be paying for years to come for the ‘moments’ of today’s war.
No matter what worthy reasons are used to justify the use of lethal force, the force remains lethal. Lethal and bound to cause pain and suffering.
Therefore, in line with our oaths, and preserving our humane and impartial treatment of all life, we demand the immediate cessation of all operations that involve the use of lethal weapons.
This open letter signed by over a thousand Russian medics was published on a Telegram channel, and reprinted in the Novaya Gazeta – an independent newspaper. It was translated by Polina Sparks. Living under a regime as oppressive as Putin’s, signing this letter took enormous courage, given it will likely be career-limiting for all involved. We’ve published the translation here because we feel it deserves a wider audience.