Human rights group Amnesty International said on Thursday that Ukraine endangered civilians by using residential areas as troop bases during the Russian invasion.
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The Ukrainian government claims that Amnesty International’s report is similar to Russian propaganda and disinformation campaign.
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President Volodymyr Zelensky accused the group of being complicit in what he called Russia’s unprovoked attacks on Ukraine. According to him, Amnesty International “attempts to transfer responsibility from the perpetrator to the victim”.
Rescue workers work on a residential building damaged by a Russian missile attack in Kiev, Ukraine – June 26, 2022 — Photo: REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
Bases in residential areas close to the front line
Between April and July, Amnesty members witnessed Ukrainian forces “establishing bases and using weapon systems” in residential areas near the frontline in eastern and southern Ukraine, according to the report.
“We have documented a pattern of Ukrainian forces putting civilians at risk and violating the laws of war in populated areas,” the report said.
Cars are damaged and covered in debris after a residential building in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, was hit by bombing on March 16, 2022.
Withdraw forces or withdraw residents
Agnès Callamard, secretary general of Amnesty International, called on the Ukrainian government to ensure that its forces are located far from populated areas or that all civilians are evacuated from these areas.
Zelensky, in a video message, said the group was trying to “amnesty the terrorist state” (Russia).
“There are no conditions, nor can there be, even hypothetically, under which any Russian attack on Ukraine is justified,” Zelensky said (according to Reuters, he was visibly agitated as he said this).
He continued: “Anyone who amnesty Russia and creates an information context in which some terrorist attacks are supposedly justified or supposedly understandable cannot fail to understand that, in doing so, he is helping the terrorists; [quem faz isso] shares with them the responsibility for the murders of people”.