Ukrainian minister says Russia blocking access to medicines

Ukrainian Health Minister Viktor Liashko speaks to The Associated Press reporters during an interview on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. Liashko accused Russian authorities of blocking access to affordable medicines in areas of Ukraine it has occupied since the invasion was launched on Feb. 24. He described the action as a "crime against humanity." (AP Photo/Vasilisa Stepanenko)

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) - Ukraine's health minister has accused Russian authorities of committing a crime against humanity by blocking access to affordable medicines in areas its forces have occupied since invading the country 5 1/2 months ago.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Ukrainian Health Minister Viktor Liashko said Russian authorities repeatedly have blocked efforts to provide state-subsidized drugs to people in occupied cities, towns and villages.

"Throughout the entire six months of war, Russia has not (allowed) proper humanitarian corridors so we could provide our own medicines to the patients that need them," Liashko said, speaking at the Health Ministry in Kyiv late Friday.

"We believe that these actions are being taken with intent by Russia, and we consider them to be crimes against humanity and war