Live Updates: Russia’s War in Ukraine

Ukrainian forces have put civilians at risk by establishing bases and operating weapon systems in populated residential areas, including schools and hospitals, as they attempt to repel the Russian invasion that has begun in February, Amnesty International said in a statement. statement Thursday.

He said such tactics violate international humanitarian law and endanger civilians because they turn civilian property into military targets.

“We have documented a tendency for Ukrainian forces to endanger civilians and violate the laws of war when operating in populated areas,” said Agnès Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International. “Being in a defensive position does not exempt the Ukrainian army from respecting international humanitarian law.”

Not all Russian attacks documented by Amnesty International have followed this pattern, the statement added, adding:

In some other places where Amnesty International found Russia committed war crimes, including parts of the city of Kharkiv, the organization found no evidence of the presence of Ukrainian forces in the targeted civilian areas. illegally by the Russian army. Between April and July, Amnesty International researchers spent several weeks investigating Russian strikes in the Kharkiv, Donbass and Mykolaiv regions.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak criticized Amnesty’s report, accusing Moscow of wanting to “discredit the Ukrainian armed forces in the eyes of Western societies”. It was, he added in a tweet, “a shame that an organization like Amnesty is participating in this disinformation and propaganda campaign”.

“The only thing that poses a threat to Ukrainians is the (Russian) army of executioners and rapists coming to (Ukraine) to commit genocide,” he said in the tweet.

Amnesty said that throughout investigations, researchers found evidence that Ukrainian forces were launching strikes from populated residential areas and based in civilian buildings in 19 towns and villages in the regions.

Most of the residential areas where the soldiers were located were miles from the front lines, the statement said.

Amnesty International said viable alternatives were available that would not endanger civilians – such as military bases or densely wooded areas nearby, or other structures further away from residential areas.

He also said that of the cases it documented, Amnesty International was unaware that the Ukrainian military that moved into civilian structures in residential areas requested or assisted civilians to evacuate the buildings. neighbours, which amounts to not taking all possible precautions to protect civilians.

Podolyak said the protection of civilians was the priority for Ukrainian forces. “Our defenders are protecting their nation and their families. People’s lives are Ukraine’s priority, that’s why we are evacuating people from frontline cities,” he said.