Amnesty International accuses the Ukrainian army of violating international law in its fight against Russia. The soldiers “repeatedly operated out of residential areas,” according to a report published on Friday.
However, the Ukrainian violations “in no way justify the many indiscriminate strikes by the Russian military with civilian victims” that Amnesty has documented in recent months, it says there.
Despite this limitation, there has been massive criticism of the report. And it comes not only from the government in Kyiv, but also from the Ukrainian office of the human rights organization.
“The Ukrainian office was not involved in either the preparation or writing of the text of the publication,” writes Oksana Pokalchuk, director of Amnesty’s Ukraine office, on Facebook. Representatives of her office would have done everything to prevent the publication.
“Everyone in Amnesty’s Ukraine office knows that Russia is responsible for the crimes of aggression against Ukraine,” the statement said. A “significant part” of the Ukrainian Amnesty team was “personally forced to save themselves and their loved ones from the war with Russia and leave everything behind”. Some even for the second time, writes Pokalchuk.
In her opinion – and that of her team – Amnesty International’s report was “one-sided”. For this reason, it was not published and translated into Ukrainian. “Me and the team at the Ukraine office believe in human rights, we believe in Ukraine’s victory, we believe that all war criminals should be brought to justice.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused the non-governmental organization of shifting responsibility for alleged violations of international law in the Russian war of aggression from the aggressor to the victim. In a video speech on Thursday evening, he said that anyone who makes such a connection “must admit that they are helping terrorists”.
Russia responded to Amnesty International’s report by publishing alleged examples of Ukrainian troops holed up in homes or schools by the Defense Ministry in Moscow on Thursday.
“Any attempt to question the right of Ukrainians to resist the genocide, to protect their families and homes” is a “perversion,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Olekxiy Reznikov wrote on Facebook.
Several Twitter users reacted with outrage to the report, some calling for the resignation of Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard. The latter, in turn, responded to the criticism on Twitter and wrote: “Ukrainian and Russian social media mobs and trolls: They are all attacking Amnesty today. This is called war propaganda, disinformation, disinformation.”