Ukraine Hospital Resists Russian Takeover by Faking COVID-19 Infection

  • Since Russia’s retreat, Kherson has been the scene of stories about Ukrainian resistance.
  • Staff at a hospital described the measures they took to avoid a Russian takeover.
  • The Wall Street Journal was told by the lead physician that “our hospital couldn’t become Russian.”

Staff at a hospital in Kherson, Ukraine, went to great lengths to prevent a Russian takeover during the eight months the city was occupied — including faking a COVID-19 outbreak to stave off troops. 

Kherson, a port city in the southern part of Ukraine, was the first major Ukrainian town to be seized by Russian forces following the February invasion. The regional capital was held for eight months until Russian officials announced a retreatOn November 9, President Vladimir Putin’s war efforts were dealt a humiliating blow.

A doctor from the Tropinka Hospital in the capital described the extent to which he and his fellows went to stop the Russians gaining control of the hospital. The Wall Street Journal.

“Our hospital couldn’t become a Russian institution,” Chief Physician Dr. Leonid Remiga stated to the Journal. “All the employees felt this way…I couldn’t leave them.”

Within days of Russian forces entering the city, soldiers arrived at the hospital with the intent of making it a military hospital. Remiga explained to them that the hospital was dealing a COVID-19 crisis. He was fully protected, including a bodysuit and foot covers. Staff had also posted warning signs on the hospital walls regarding COVID-19.

The troops believed there was an active outbreak and left the hospital.

Remiga also claimed that Russian soldiers had ordered him to remove a Ukrainian flag from the hospital. He refused. He said that he told the soldiers he would shoot him if they wanted but he wouldn’t be removing it.

Remiga’s detailed description of how he and other staff members resisted a Russian takeover adds to the story stories of Ukrainian resistanceSince the retreat earlier in the month, a flood of Kherson has poured out.

The war’s effects are still being felt by liberated Kherson. Ukraine has offered to help citizens evacuateDue to the destruction of the city’s electricity infrastructure, the winter was not yet over. Russia has also been attacking Kherson from afar with the latest shellingAt least 10 civilians were killed and dozens more were injured.

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