Human rights group Amnesty International accused Ukraine on Thursday of endangering civilians by basing troops in residential areas during Russia’s invasion in a report that Kyiv likened to Russian propaganda and disinformation.
Amnesty workers witnessed Ukrainian forces “establishing bases and operating weapons systems” in some populated residential areas during visits to several frontline areas in Ukraine’s east and south from April to July, the report said.
“We have documented a pattern of Ukrainian forces putting civilians at risk and violating the laws of war when they operate in populated areas,” the report quoted Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s secretary general, as saying.
She called on the Ukrainian government to ensure that its forces were located away from populated areas or for all civilians to be evacuated from those areas first.
The report angered several senior Ukrainian politicians.
“When there is no analysis of the actions of the enemy in a text about the activities of the Ukrainian armed forces during the war, it is like studying the actions of the victim without considering the actions of an armed rapist,” said Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Malyar.
Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak accused Amnesty of “participating in (Russia’s) disinformation and propaganda campaign”.
In separate comments to Reuters, he said Ukraine strictly adhered to all the laws of war and international humanitarian law, and that Ukraine was “taking all measures” to evacuate civilians from frontline areas.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he was “outraged” by the report, and urged Amnesty to “stop creating a false reality.”