Ukraine war: Anger in Kyiv after Amnesty accuses it of endangering civilians

Kyiv has responded strongly to an Amnesty International report accusing it of riding harshly with civilians in the country’s fight against Russia.

In a report published Thursday, the humanitarian organization alleged that the Ukrainian military put civilians at risk by placing bases and weapons in residential areas – including schools and hospitals – in its quest to fend off the Russian invasion.

“Ukrainian tactics violated international humanitarian law by turning civilian objects into military objectives,” Amnesty International said. “The Russian strikes that followed on populated areas killed civilians and destroyed civilian infrastructure,” he added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the results on Thursday evening.

He said Amnesty “transfers responsibility from the aggressor to the victim,” accusing the NGO of “trying to grant amnesty to the terrorist state” in Russia.

“The aggression against our state is unjustified, invasive and terrorist,” Zelensky added. “If someone writes a communication in which the victim and the aggressor are somehow equal, if some data on the victim is analyzed and the offender’s actions are ignored, that cannot be tolerated.”

In its report, which was based on several weeks of research in the Kharkiv, Donbass and Mykolaiv regions, Amnesty called on Ukraine’s armed forces to abide by the law.

“Being on the defensive does not excuse the Ukrainian army from respecting international humanitarian law,” said Agnes Callamard, the NGO’s general secretary.

International humanitarian law requires all parties to a conflict to avoid locating military objectives, to the extent possible, in or near densely populated areas.

There are other obligations to protect civilians from harm by keeping them away from areas close to military objectives and giving effective warning of attacks that may affect the civilian population.

Deputy Defense Minister of Ukraine Hanna Maliar said that Ukrainian soldiers were deployed in cities and populated areas to defend them from a Russian attack, saying that it posed a danger to civilians.

“The Russian Federation is committing the crime here,” she said. “Ukraine protects its territory. Moscow ignores all rules of war. And unlike Ukraine, it does not allow international organizations like Amnesty International.”

Amnesty International researchers inspected the sites of the strikes, interviewed survivors, witnesses and relatives of the victims of the attacks, and conducted remote sensing and weapons analysis between April and June in their investigations.

They said investigators found evidence that Ukrainian forces launched strikes from within residential areas as well as stationed in civilian buildings in 19 towns and villages in the three southeastern regions.

Dmytro Kuleba, the head of Ukraine’s diplomacy, said he was “outraged” at the “unfair” accusations by Amnesty International.

According to Guelbeh, their report creates a “false balance between the oppressor and the victim, between a state that exterminates hundreds and thousands of civilians, cities, lands and lands.” [a] A country that defends itself fiercely.”

The report claimed that the Ukrainian army could have been stationed elsewhere to avoid civilian casualties.

Amnesty International researchers said: “Most of the residential areas where soldiers were stationed were miles from the front lines, and viable alternatives were available that would not have put civilians at risk – such as military bases, densely forested areas or other buildings away from residential areas. “.

In the cases it documented, Amnesty said it did not know whether the Ukrainian military had requested or assisted civilians in evacuating nearby buildings, which it said was a “possible precaution”.

However, Amnesty noted that Ukraine has not uniformly placed military objectives in civilian areas.

In some of the areas where Russia allegedly committed war crimes – such as Kharkiv – Amnesty found no evidence of Ukrainian forces being stationed in civilian areas.

Russia denies allegations of war crimes in Ukraine.

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