The conflict between the Ukrainian government and Russian-supported separatists threatens the lives of civilian patients who have been cut off, or soon will be, from lifesaving medicines.

7 Aug 2015

In addition to those on methadone, 8,000 patients with HIV are now watching their treatment, and hope for survival, run out. HIV treatments for many in the Donbass will last only a few weeks more, until mid-August.

The Ukrainian government has washed its hands of responsibility for areas it no longer controls, cutting off funds for hospitals and telling patients to travel to government territory for medicine—an impractical and cynical suggestion. Authorities in the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Luhansk, a separatist-controlled area, have said that they would follow the Russian approach and ban methadone; nine patients have reportedly already killed themselves in despair.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainians have not permitted a humanitarian convoy carrying either HIV or addiction medicines to cross into the Donbass since February. The rebels have not stepped up either, except to remind the UN that their permission, too, must be granted before medicine can be transported.

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