SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: August 17, 2022

Attack Types: Other

Institution(s):Petro Mohyla Black Sea National University

Region & Country:Europe | Ukraine

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On August 17, 2022, it was reported that Russian armed forces struck Petro Mohyla Black Sea National University (PMBSNU) with rockets during a night of shelling in Mykolaiv.

Prior to the attack, Russian forces had reportedly alleged that Ukrainian territorial defense forces were storing ammunition and armored vehicles at the university; however, one news outlet and the city’s mayor disputed the allegations in videos documenting the premises.

Two day following the August 17 attack, Russian forces again targeted PMBSNU with two more rockets.

Photos and videos of the campus show significant damage to the university’s facade and interior.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the military targeting of university facilities in armed conflict. Parties to a conflict may only attack legitimate military targets; where a party suspects that a civilian facility — such as a university building — is being used for military purposes, that party has a duty to take every action practicable to verify that this suspicion is correct before initiating an attack. In the event of such an attack, parties must take all practicable precautions to avoid or minimize damage to civilian facilities. Further, parties must refrain from launching attacks which may be expected to cause disproportionate damage to civilian facilities.