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Market in Kostiantynivka damaged from missile attacked

Over 30 people hospitalised after deadly attack on marketplace in Kostiantynivka

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  • At least 17 people, including a child, have been killed in an attack on a marketplace in Kostiantynivka.
  • MSF medical teams have treated more than 30 wounded patients, many of them in life-threatening conditions, at Kostiantynivka hospital.

After an explosion on Wednesday in a marketplace in Kostiantynivka, in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been responding to urgent medical needs of people injured in the attack.

At Kostiantynivka hospital, where MSF supports the Ministry of Health emergency department, 34 patients have been admitted, with 15 people requiring immediate lifesaving care. 

“I was called urgently to the hospital. When we arrived, there were many wounded people in all the rooms and the corridor,” says IIya Bilokonov, MSF anesthesiologist working at Kostiantynivka hospital. 

“Most were seriously injured – they had blast injuries and burns,” says Bilokonov. “All trauma surgeons were working, all operating theatres were full. Unfortunately, attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure occur often here.”

She was lying between two broken cars – the cars were burning. I started screaming. Passers-by ran up and pulled my daughter out. Inna, whose daughter was critically injured by the explosion

At the hospital, five patients were immediately transferred to the operating room for emergency surgery. Our teams also transported four patients in critical condition from Kostiantynivka to Dnipro, to receive specialised treatment. 

One was a young woman who required mechanical ventilation support and continuous medical care due to a penetrating abdominal injury, chest trauma, pneumothorax and massive blood loss. The patients’ mother, Inna, said her daughter was working as a market seller when the attack occurred. 

“I heard a rocket flying. I was thrown back by the blast wave,” says Inna. “When I got up, I immediately ran to the market. I felt danger in my heart,” says Inna. 

“She was lying between two broken cars – the cars were burning. I started screaming. Passers-by ran up and pulled my daughter out.”

MSF team in Kostiantynivka operating on a 34-year-old woman who sustained injury in a shelling in Toretsk, Ukraine.
MSF surgeons in Kostiantynivka operate on a 34-year-old woman who sustained an injury in a shelling in Toretsk. Ukraine, 20 June 2023.
Linda Nyholm/MSF

Intense strikes and explosions in the town and surrounding suburbs of Kostyantynivka have become an almost daily reality. It lies about 20 kilometres west of the frontline сity of Bakhmut, an area that has proven a major flashpoint in the war. As the battle line has encroached, the level of risk for people in Kostiantynivka and the surrounding areas has grown. 

“After the attack yesterday in Kostiantynivka, at least 17 people are reported to have been killed in the blast, including a child,” says Virginia Moneti, MSF medical advisor. “The hospital received more than 30 wounded patients, many of them in life-threatening conditions.” 

“Our team worked together with the hospital staff in the emergency department. Patients were stabilised and those in need of more specialised care were quickly transferred from Kostiantynivka hospital with MSF ambulances,” says Moneti. 

“The situation is very challenging – hospitals and medical staff are working under difficult conditions,” she says. 

Kostiantynivka hospital is one of the few functional healthcare facilities near the eastern frontlines. As numerous medical facilities in the neighbouring towns have been either destroyed or closed, and people in the area – including medical staff – have been forced to flee, Kostiantynivka hospital now also serves patients from across the district. 

However, with the near constant shelling and sound of alarms, visiting the doctor has shifted from a routine necessity to a careful calculation of risk and resources. Many of those who have remained in the vicinity are people who are elderly living with chronic health conditions.

To ensure continuity of care, our teams are running mobile clinics in villages close to Kostiantynivka, providing both physical and mental health care services.

As fighting grinds on in the Donetsk region, we continue to support the healthcare system, which is responding to the huge needs near the frontlines, by filling the gaps that have been caused and aggravated by the war.

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