On January 1, 2024, Russian drones struck the National Agrarian University in Lviv, damaging the roof and windows.
The university had links to Stepan Bandera, a prominent 20th century Ukrainian nationalist that resisted Soviet rule and member of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), which fought against Soviet forces during World War II. The Kremlin has cited Bandera in their “denazification” justification for invading Ukraine, arguing that some nationalists initially cooperated with German forces to fight against the Soviet Union – although they later fought against the Nazis as well.
The drone strike was carried out on what would have been Bandera’s 115 birthday.
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.