A woman talks on the phone as a plume of smoke rises into the sky in the village of Svyato-Pokrovske, south of Siversk, in the Donbass, June 23, 2022.
Ukraine's military has put civilians at risk by establishing military bases in schools and hospitals and launching attacks from populated areas to repel the Russian invasion, Amnesty International concluded on Thursday. x27;a four-month investigation.
Such tactics violate international humanitarian law, the NGO warned in a statement whose findings were denounced by kyiv as doing part of a disinformation and propaganda operation.
We have documented a tendency for Ukrainian forces to endanger civilians and violate the laws of war when operating in populated areas, said Agnès Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International.
“Being in a defensive position does not exempt the Ukrainian army from respecting international humanitarian law. »
— Agnès Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International
Between April and July, Amnesty International researchers investigated Russian strikes in the Kharkiv, Donbass and Mykolaiv regions, inspecting sites hit by strikes and interviewing survivors, witnesses and relatives of victims.
According to the NGO, these researchers found evidence that Ukrainian forces were launching strikes from populated residential areas and had established bases in civilian buildings in 19 towns and villages in these regions.
Most of the residential areas where the soldiers were located were located miles from the front lines, Amnesty notes, pointing out that other options that would not have endangered civilians – such as nearby military bases or heavily forested areas – were possible.
Ukrainian servicemen fire a multiple rocket launcher at a frontline in the Kharkiv region.
The NGO indicates that to its knowledge, the soldiers who settled in these residential areas did not ask the civilians to evacuate .
She claims that Ukrainian forces have also established military bases in schools and hospitals.
But Ukrainian presidential adviser Mikhailo Podoliak says otherwise, arguing on Twitter that people's lives were Ukraine's priority and that people from towns near the front were being evacuated.
The only thing that poses a threat to Ukrainians is the Russian army […] which comes to Ukraine to commit genocide […] an organization like Amnesty participates in this disinformation and propaganda campaign, he said.
Ukraine clearly adheres to [all] laws of war and the international humanitarian law, he argued in a statement.
While Amnesty denounces these Ukrainian tactics, it insists that they in no way justify the attacks blind Russians who struck civilian populations.
The NGO says it contacted the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense about its research findings on July 29, but had not received a response at the time of the release.
As for him, the head of Ukrainian diplomacy, Dmytro Kouleba, said Thursday that he was outraged by the unjust accusations of Amnesty International.
I am outraged just like you by the Amnesty International report. I consider it unfair, Mr. Kouleba said in a video comment posted on Facebook.
He in turn accused Amnesty International of creating a false balance between the oppressor and the victim, between the country that is destroying hundreds and thousands of civilians, cities, territories and the country that is desperately defending itself.
Stop creating this false reality, where everyone is a little guilty of something and start systematically reporting the truth about what Russia really stands for today, he argued.