Around 200 staff and students from the Odessa National Medical University (ONMEDU) gathered outside of the US Embassy in Kyiv on Wednesday, February 20, calling for the resignation of acting Health Minister Ulana Suprun. The protesters also demanded that the Ministry of Health approve the 2019 ONMEDU budget.
The same day, a group of unidentified individuals blocked access to the university in Odessa and attempted to storm the administration building. According to local media reports, the group was protesting in support of Suprun. Clashes broke out between the demonstrators and protesters at the entrance of the building. Further related protests are possible in Kyiv and Odessa in the coming days and weeks.
Tensions have been high between ONMEDU staff and the Ministry of Health in recent months. In September 2018, Suprun attempted to appoint a new rector for the university, which was eventually overturned by a court decree. Suprun has also refused to approve the 2019 budget for ONMEDU, which has prevented over 3000 staff members and 14,000 students from receiving salaries and scholarships since January 2019.
Individuals in Kyiv and Odessa are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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