Amnesty apologizes for report accusing Ukrainian forces of human rights violations

Amnesty apologizes for report accusing Ukrainian forces of human rights violations

The rights group, however, insisted that it fully stands by its findings about Kiev's behavior.

Human rights group Amnesty International has issued an apology for a report last week accusing Ukrainian armed forces of violating international humanitarian law and endangering civilians. Despite days of pressure on social media from supporters of Kiev, the organization has refused to disavow its findings.

The document in question was published on Thursday. The investigation also took aim at the Ukrainian military, who claimed to have a troubling pattern of putting civilians at risk and violating the laws of war by operating from residential infrastructure, including schools, while lambasting Russian forces.

Amnesty said in an e-mail sent to Reuters on Sunday that it deeply regretted the distress and anger that our press release on the Ukrainian military's fighting tactics has caused, as cited by Reuters.

The rights group stated that the sole objective of publishing the analysis was to make sure civilians are protected. It made it clear that it fully stands by our findings. Amnesty said its observers had spotted Ukrainian forces in the vicinity of residential areas in at least 19 towns and villages across the country. The Ukrainian military, by positioning its forces in such a manner, endangered civilian populations by subjecting them to the danger of Russian fire, according to the organization.

Soon after the findings were published, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky accused Amnesty of trying to shift responsibility away from Russian troops. The group stressed that its findings do not suggest that Amnesty International holds Ukrainian forces responsible for violations committed by Russian forces, nor that the Ukrainian military is not taking adequate precautions elsewhere in the country. The rights group said nothing we documented Ukrainian forces doing in any way justifies Russian violations. Agnes Callamard, Amnesty International Secretary General, commented on the group's findings, saying that being in a defensive position does not exempt the Ukrainian military from respecting international humanitarian law. However, Zelensky lashed out at Amnesty, saying that anyone who doubts that Ukraine is a victim is an accomplice of Russia as a terrorist country and a participant in the killings. Kiev is doing its best to evacuate civilians out of harm s way, according to Ukrainian officials.

Russia pointed out that it had repeatedly called out Ukrainian troops for using civilians as human shields, and Amnesty's findings only serve to confirm that.