Amnesty International said it was “deeply regrettable and outraged” after it alleged that Ukrainian forces were violating international law by exposing civilians to Russian fire.
“We stand by our findings,” the rights group said on Sunday, but stressed that “nothing we have documented that Ukrainian forces have in any way justifies Russian violations.”
Amnesty sparked outrage in Ukraine by publishing a report on Thursday Which accused the army of endangering civilians By establishing bases in schools and hospitals, and launching counterattacks from densely populated areas.
Chief Amnesty Ukraine He resigned in protest, accusing the rights organization of repeating Kremlin propaganda.
Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, said the group tried to “shift responsibility from the aggressor to the victim”.
The Amnesty International report mentioned cases in which Ukrainian forces appeared to endanger civilians in 19 towns and villages in the Kharkiv, Donbass and Mykolaiv regions.
In its statement on Sunday, the rights group refused to retract this assessment.
It has “found cases where Ukrainian forces have been stationed next to where civilians live, putting them at risk of Russian fire.”
“We made this assessment based on the rules of international humanitarian law, which require all parties to the conflict to avoid locating military objectives, to the extent possible, in or near densely populated areas,” the report said.
However, Amnesty International recognized the scale of backlash its report had triggered.
“Amnesty International deeply regrets the grief and outrage our press release caused about the fighting tactics of the Ukrainian army,” the organization said.
Since the Russian invasion in February, Amnesty said it has interviewed hundreds of Ukrainian victims “whose stories highlight the brutal reality of Russia’s war of aggression”.
“We have challenged the world to show its solidarity with Ukrainians through concrete action, and we will continue to do so.”
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