Norway extends agreement on medical evacuation from Ukraine

Norway is extending its cooperation with the EU on transporting Ukrainian patients to Norway and other European hospitals for medical treatment. Norway will continue the medical evacuation operation until November 2024.

Bilde av SAS-fly og luftambulanse på Gardermoen
SAS aircraft and air ambulance at landed in Oslo on Thursday: Medical evacuation number 100 landed at Gardermoen airport on Thursday evening. Since August 2022, Norway has offered regular weekly flights to European countries to evacuate patients from Ukraine. Credit: Fredrik Ringnes, Norwegian Armed Forces

‘These efforts are of vital importance to Ukraine and are a key component of our support,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide. ‘This medical evacuation operation is part of Norway’s extensive engagement in support of Ukraine. Norway’s close cooperation with other European countries is helping to alleviate pressure on the Ukrainian healthcare system and ensure that wounded soldiers and ill and injured Ukrainians receive the hospital treatment and care they need,’ said Mr Eide.

Since August 2022, Norway has been providing regular weekly flights to evacuate Ukrainian patients to countries across Europe. A total of 1538 patients have been evacuated, in 100 operations, by the Norwegian Armed Forces Joint Medical Services in close cooperation with the Norwegian health authorities, Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) and other key actors. The European Commission has described the transport as a cornerstone of the medical evacuation effort. In response to a request from the EU, the Norwegian Government has decided to extend the medical evacuation operation until November 2024.

Important effort     

Bilde av forsvarsministeren som prater med pasient som ligger i seng på flyet
Flight number 100 with patients from Ukraine was received by Minister of Defense Bjørn Arild Gram at Gardermoen Airport. It was a powerful meeting with troop commander Oleksandr Vlasenko, who was injured earlier this year but has now been evacuated for treatment. Credit: Fredrik Ringnes, Norwegian Armed Forces

Many countries have available hospital capacity but do not have the means to transport patients. Norway’s airlift operation means better use of hospital capacity in Europe, which in turn reduces the burden on health care services in Ukraine. Thus, Norway is providing support on the basis of Ukraine’s needs. Patients of all ages, many accompanied by family members, are first transported out of Ukraine to a medical hub in Poland before being transferred to hospitals in other European countries for treatment. Norway is also assisting with this onward transport from Poland. The majority of the patients are suffering from cancer or war injuries, but there are also patients with infections and other medical conditions.

A long-term agreement between the Norwegian Armed Forces and SAS has made it possible to convert an ordinary airliner into an air ambulance that is equipped to provide intensive care and to transport patients in stretchers. SAS operates and pilots the aircraft, and the Norwegian Armed Forces Joint Medical Services provide the medical and operational expertise. The business sector, civil society and military authorities are all working together in this important effort.

The medical evacuation operation from Ukraine is a coordinated effort involving several Norwegian ministries, the regional health authorities and the Norwegian Directorate of Health, as well as the Norwegian Armed Forces, SAS and the Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection.

‘The Ukrainian people’s fight to defend themselves requires considerable resources across the country, and despite the tremendous efforts of the Ukrainian health system, health services in the country are under enormous pressure. Our agreement on the evacuation of Ukrainian patients to European hospitals helps to ensure the patients receive the treatment they need and reduces the burden on health services in Ukraine. The health care personnel on board normally work in the Norwegian health services, but have an agreement to be deployed at short notice for the Armed Forces,’ said Minister of Defence Bjørn Arild Gram.

Receiving high-quality care in Norway            

‘Norway is one of the countries that has received the most patients from Ukraine. I am proud of the capacity and willingness shown by our health services to provide high-quality treatment to patients from Ukraine since the start of the war. The health services have also provided Ukraine with donations of medications and equipment. We will continue to support Ukraine in cooperation with the EU,’ said Minister of Health and Care Services Ingvild Kjerkol.

Since the operation started in the spring of 2022, 359 patients have been treated in Norwegian hospitals. The operation is being coordinated under the EU Civil Protection Mechanism (UCPM). Norway receives evacuated patients on the basis of an assessment of treatment capacity and the needs of each individual patient.


  • The European Commission estimates that some 7.7 million Ukrainians will be in need of medical help in 2024.
  • Since 24 February 2022, over 1500 attacks on the health sector in Ukraine have been registered by the World Health Organization (WHO). The actual numbers are likely to be higher.
  • Norway is one of the countries that has received the most patients from Ukraine. So far, some 359 patients have been evacuated to Norway for treatment in Norwegian hospitals.
  • In addition, Norway has provided transport that has enabled the evacuation of some 1200 Ukrainian patients for treatment in Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary and the Netherlands.