Amnesty International apologized on Sunday (7 Aug) for the “distressed and anger” caused in part by a report that accused Ukraine of endangering civilians. This scandal infuriated President Volodymyr Zeleskiy and led to his resignation.
On Thursday, the rights group published a report stating that the presence of Ukrainian troops within residential areas increased civilian risks during Russia’s invasion.
“Amnesty International deeply regretted the distress and anger caused by our press release about the Ukrainian military’s combat tactics,” it wrote in an email to Reuters.
Amnesty International’s primary goal in this conflict and any other is to ensure that civilians are safe. This was indeed our only objective in publishing this piece of research. We stand by our findings and regret the pain it caused.
Zelenskiy accused them of trying to shift Russian aggression’s responsibility, while Oksana Pokalchuk, Amnesty’s Ukraine director, resigned saying that the report was a propaganda gift from Moscow.
Officials in Ukraine claim they are trying to evacuate civilians from the front-line. Russia, which denies that civilians were targeted, has not commented on this rights report.
Amnesty stated in an email that it found Ukrainian troops near civilian residences in 19 villages and towns it visited on Sunday. This exposed them to Russian fire.
It stated that “this does not mean Amnesty International holds Ukrainian troops responsible for violations by Russian forces or that the Ukrainian military doesn’t take adequate precautions elsewhere within the country.”
“We need to be very clear: Nothing that we documented Ukrainian forces doing in any manner justifies Russian violations.”
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