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Putin’s war on Ukraine has affected relationships among cardiologists in Europe
The European Society of Cardiology (ESC), an international community of cardiologists, said in a statement sent to Fox News, that it paused the memberships of the Russian Society of Cardiology and the Belarussian Society of Cardiologists amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which is also one of its member countries. Cardiologists in Russia or Belarus are also barred from any ESC event, including presenters, the statement said.
“Please let us emphasize that this extraordinary measure is not at all directed against cardiologists, scientists, and other ESC members from the Russian Federation or Belarus. They are not to blame for the war. They are our friends and colleagues in the fight against cardiovascular disease.” Stephan Achenbach, President of the ESC, said in the statement.
Achenbach said in the statement that the organization “had no choice but to use widespread isolation” to discourage further aggression by the Russian Federation and Belarusian political leaders.
According to the letter, in order to be effective, sanctions need to be as comprehensive as possible. The statement explained isolations include not only economic sanctions, exclusion from sporting competitions, and cancellation of cultural events, but also termination of scientific collaborations.
“In this context, the ESC sees the temporary suspension of RSC and BSSC as a necessary measure in a desperate attempt to stop the bloodshed in Ukraine by signaling international condemnation and adding pressure on political leadership in Russia and Belarus,” the ESC President said in the statement.
Achenbach said in the release that the ESC has always been committed to collective unity across geographical borders and political systems in its collaborative mission to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease.
“This unity is not sacrificed and will never be. It remains the priority. However, sanctions are the only measures the ESC can contribute towards ending the war and the loss of lives, health, and humanity that will occur every day as long as the war continues.”
The statement did say however this measure does not prevent access to journals, guidelines, educational material, and any other information that the ESC disseminates.
Achenbah also said in the letter, “The ESC very much regrets the impacts of its decision on our cardiology colleagues and friends in the affected countries. However, collectively we continue to hope for rapid resolution of the conflict and peace to be restored, whereupon there would be no need to sustain any measures”
The ESC said in another March statement that it has reached out to the Ukrainian Association of Cardiology (UAC) to offer direct help to members and their families and has donated funds to MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières), an organization that helps provide medical aid and humanitarian assistance on the ground in Ukraine and neighboring countries.