The NGO maintains that the report on Ukraine's violations of humanitarian law was based on an extensive investigation.
Amnesty International said on Friday that it stands by a report in which it accused Kiev of endangering civilians by placing military assets in schools and residential areas. The investigation drew the ire of the Ukrainian government and President Vladimir Zelensky.
Secretary General Agnes Callamard told the news agency AFP in an emailed statement that the NGO fully stands by our research. She took to Twitter to state that her organization stands by all victims. She lashed out at those she referred to as social media mobs and trolls that are attacking Amnesty's investigations.
Zelensky accused the NGO of shifting responsibility from the aggressor to the victim, referring to Russia and Ukraine. The president stated that any report that equates the actions of the victim and the aggressor in some way cannot be tolerated. The report, which was released on Thursday, accused Kiev of a clear violation of international humanitarian law, as it documented that Ukraine was placing its military close to civilian infrastructure, putting civilian lives at risk. The NGO said there was evidence of current or prior military activity in 22 of the 29 schools it visited in Ukraine between April and July.
It said that Ukraine's unlawful military use of civilian objects did not justify indiscriminate Russian attacks. Ukrainian troops had not been present in some residential areas that it assessed had been targeted in Russian strikes, according to the NGO.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba said that the NGO's goal was to create a false balance between the criminal and his victim. Moscow responded to the report by saying that Ukrainian troops use civilians as human shields and Amnesty's findings only confirm that.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev's failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by France and Germany, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko admitted that Kiev's main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and create powerful armed forces. In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists that the Russian offensive was unprovoked.