Ukraine’s foreign minister thanked Israel on Friday for opening a field hospital in the west of the country earlier this week to treat civilians in the area.
“Grateful to the State of Israel for setting up the #ShiningStar field hospital in Lviv region,” tweeted Dmytro Kuleba.
“I thank its team of Israeli physicians and paramedics for their important humanitarian mission and tireless work to help Ukrainian men, women, and children at this difficult time.”
Kuleba tagged Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in the tweet — the two spoke about the project in a call earlier this month.
That phone call came after reports that Kuleba had rebuffed appeals from Lapid to connect, purportedly angry over Israel’s carefully balanced support for Ukraine.
The hospital is operating under the name “Kohav Meir” (“Shining Star”), after former Israeli prime minister Golda Meir, who was born in Ukraine and was the founder of the Foreign Ministry’s Agency for International Development Cooperation aid program, which is leading the project.
Grateful to the State of Israel for setting up the #ShiningStar field hospital in Lviv region. I thank its team of Israeli physicians and paramedics for their important humanitarian mission and tireless work to help Ukrainian men, women, and children at this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/PpmiNsSAlF
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) March 25, 2022
The hospital is intended for civilians, and expects most of its traffic to be for chronic conditions and pediatric care.
“We would like to thank all the doctors from Israel for their help and medical care, who helped our little daughter get back up on her feet,” Natalia, a mother of a 10-year-old suffering from scoliosis and several other conditions told the Kan public broadcaster.
The family had fled Kyiv during the face days of the war amid heavy Russian bombardments.
Staff have established a relationship with regional administrative and medical authorities, and area hospitals will direct some patient traffic to the field hospital, which has 150 beds across its emergency, pediatric, and obstetrics and gynecology wards.
“There are many patients who have arrived already,” Ari Fink, head of the hospital’s ER told Kan. “The rate and amount [of patients arriving] are very impressive. But that’s why we came. We’re very happy about this. It sounds like they were really waiting for this,” he said.
The network filmed a lengthy line of patients outside the site, many of whom are said to have traveled out specifically to be treated at the Israeli hospital, according to Kan.
Housed on the grounds of an elementary school in Mostyska, outside Lviv, the NIS 21 million ($6.5 million) facility fills 10 outdoor tents and has also converted multiple classrooms into hospitalization wards.
The project has 100 staff members, 80 of whom are doctors and nurses who flew out to Ukraine earlier this week after a ceremony at Ben Gurion Airport attended by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Lapid.
Many members of the delegation were chosen for their abilities to speak Ukrainian or Russian. The team is initially set to spend a month in Ukraine.
Carrie Keller-Lynn contributed to this report.