Ukrainian Troop Placement May Amount to War Crimes: Amnesty International
Military bases set up in residential areas including schools and hospitals
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The Ukrainian military may have committed war crimes by establishing bases and operating systems in residential areas, Amnesty International said in a report Friday.
The report said these bases have been placed near schools and hospitals.
“Such tactics violate international humanitarian law and endanger civilians, as they turn civilian objects into military targets,” the report said. “The ensuing Russian strikes in populated areas have killed civilians and destroyed civilian infrastructure.”
The Trends Journal has reported on allegations of war crimes against Russian troops by the U.S. since the start of the February invasion. The State Department did not immediately respond to the Trends Journal about the Amnesty International report. It should be noted that the group also accused Russia of committing war crimes.
Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s secretary general, “We have documented a pattern of Ukrainian forces putting civilians at risk and violating the laws of war when they operate in populated areas. Being in a defensive position does not exempt the Ukrainian military from respecting international humanitarian law.”
Oksana Pokalchuk, Amnesty Ukraine's leader took to Facebook to question the merits of the report and said, "We did everything we could to prevent this report from going public."
Pokalchuk will reportedly resign over disagreements with leadership, according to tweets.
“If you don’t live in a country, that’s being torn apart, you’ll never understand what it means, to blame the army of its defenders,” she said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky slammed the report and said, “if someone makes a report in which the victim and the aggressor are allegedly the same in something, if some data about the victim is analyzed and what the aggressor was doing at that time is ignored, this cannot be tolerated.”
Key Points from Amnesty’s report: Researchers found evidence of Ukrainian forces launching strikes from within populated residential areas as well as basing themselves in civilian buildings in 19 towns and villages in the regions. The organization’s Crisis Evidence Lab has analyzed satellite imagery to further corroborate some of these incidents.
Most residential areas where soldiers located themselves were kilometres away from front lines. 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.
Mykola, who lives in a tower block in a neighbourhood of Lysychansk (Donbas) that was repeatedly struck by Russian attacks which killed at least one older man, told Amnesty International: “I don’t understand why our military is firing from the cities and not from the field.”
NPR wrote: “Like Amnesty International, NPR's journalists also have witnessed some evidence of military presence near bombed civilian areas.”
“Ukrainian officials have claimed that their defensive posture against Russia justifies all tactics used so far, and that the report unfairly implicates Ukraine in war crimes. One top adviser to Ukraine's president even accused the human rights group of being Russian propagandists fostering disinformation.”
The report said Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's foreign minister, said only Russia should be blamed for threats against civilians.
Note to Readers: The Trends Journal is completely opposed to the Russian invasion but believes that the best option is for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to negotiate a peace deal and stop listening to President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who are fighting a proxy war to weaken Russia.