Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has denied Amnesty International’s report, which argues that the country’s wartime tactics endanger civilians and violate international law. Zelenskiy stated that in this way, Amnesty strengthened Russia’s hand.
Reacting with the words “You are shifting the responsibility from the aggressor to the victim,” Zelenskiy denounced the report criticizing the Ukrainian army as “fake” and “propaganda”.
The report, released on Thursday, says the Ukrainian military has turned civilian facilities into military targets, for example establishing bases and operating weapons systems in populated residential areas, including schools and hospitals.
It is noted that all this violates international law, and as a result, when Russia hits these targets, it kills civilians and destroys civilian infrastructure.
Amnesty also criticizes the Ukrainian military’s failure to evacuate some civilians who may come under crossfire.
The report is based on observations by Amnesty International researchers who investigated the Russian attacks in Donbas, as well as the Southern Kharkiv and Mykolaiv regions over several weeks between April and July.
In particular, the observers who wrote the report say they have witnessed Ukrainian forces use hospitals as “de facto military bases” in five locations.
Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary-General, said: “Being in a defensive position does not exempt the Ukrainian military from respecting international law. “We have documented a model where Ukrainian forces put civilians at risk and violate the laws of war in operations in populated areas,” he defended the report.
The Ukraine unit of the organization was excluded from the process before the report was published.
Oksana Pokalchuk, Amnesty Organization Ukraine Director, stated that they did not agree with the report. Pokalchuk said that Amnesty International’s Ukraine unit was removed from the process before the report was published.
Zelensky: These do not justify indiscriminate Russia
Zelensky said that the fact that the Ukrainian army was forced to conduct military operations in populated areas does not in any way justify indiscriminate Russian attacks.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that he was “outraged” at the London-based organization’s report and that the assessments were “unjustified”. “This behavior by Amnesty International is not about uncovering the truth, it’s about striking the wrong balance between the perpetrator and the victim,” Kuleba said.
Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov reacted by saying, “We will not allow anyone to slander our army.”