The head of Amnesty International’s Ukraine office has resigned in a controversial report accusing the parrot rights organization of Kremlin propaganda that criticized the war-torn country’s military response to Russia’s invasion.
Amnesty sparked outrage in Ukraine when it released a report on Thursday accusing the military of endangering civilians by setting up bases in schools and hospitals and retaliated from heavily populated areas.
Amnesty’s Oksana Poklchuk announced her resignation late Friday, saying on social media: “If you don’t live in a country that is attacked by occupiers who are tearing it to pieces, then you probably don’t understand what it is to condemn an army of defenders.” ,
“And there are no words in any language that can convey this to someone who has not experienced this pain.”
Poklchuk said he had tried to warn Amnesty’s senior leadership that the report was one-sided and failed to properly take into account the Ukrainian situation, but was ignored.
Amnesty says it contacted defense officials in Kyiv with its findings on July 29, but did not receive a response by the time of publication – but Poklchuk argued it was not nearly enough notice.
“As a result, the organization inadvertently made a statement that sounded like an endorsement of Russian fiction. While attempting to protect civilians, this research instead became a tool of Russian propaganda.”
Amnesty listed incidents in which the Ukrainian military endangered civilians in 19 towns and villages in the Kharkiv, Donbass and Mykolaiv regions.
“We have documented a pattern of Ukrainian forces putting civilians at risk and violating the laws of war when they operate in populated areas,” said Amnesty Secretary General Agnes Callamard.
“Being in a defensive position does not exempt the Ukrainian military from respecting international humanitarian law.”
Ukraine’s government vigorously pushed back, with Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba calling the allegations “unfair” and Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov calling the report “distorted”.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said the rights group had tried to “pardon the terrorist state and shift responsibility from the attacker to the victim”.
“If someone makes a report in which the victim and the attacker are considered alike in some way, if some data about the victim is analyzed, and at the same time the attacker’s actions are ignored, it is tolerated.” Can’t be done,” he said.
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