On December 31, 2022, Russian forces struck the campus of Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (KNU) during a wave of missile launches targeting Kyiv, causing significant damage to the campus. There were no reported deaths or injuries on the campus, though there were casualties reported in other parts of the city.
On January 1, KNU released a statement detailing the facilities damaged in the attack and shared photos of the destruction. The photos show shattered windows and smoke rising from buildings. The university reported that damage was suffered by the Institute of Biology and Medicine and the Institute of High Technologies, as well as the faculties of psychology, sociology, computer science and cybernetics, radiophysics, electronics and computer systems, mechanics, mathematics, geography, and nuclear physics.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense condemned the attack on Twitter.
KNU was previously damaged by a nearby missile strike on October 10, 2022.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about military forces targeting higher education 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.