Amnesty International accuses Ukraine of endangering civilians. The head of the Kyiv office has now resigned.
Kyiv – The head of Amnesty International’s Ukraine office has resigned after the publication of a critical report on the Ukrainian army. Oksana Pokalchuk announced her resignation late on Friday afternoon (August 5) on the Internet. She was appalled by the allegations by the human rights organization and now accuses them of Russian propaganda.
Amnesty International: Head of Ukraine office resigned
In its report, Amnesty International accused the Ukrainian armed forces of violating international humanitarian law. The aim was to set up bases near schools, hospitals and residential areas. “The fact that they are in a defensive position does not absolve the Ukrainian military from complying with international humanitarian law,” said Agnès Callamard, Secretary-General of Amnesty International. The press release sparked outrage in Kyiv. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused the organization of “putting victims and attackers on the same level, so to speak”.
The head of the human rights organization’s Ukraine section said she tried to warn Amnesty International’s top management about the one-sidedness of the report. However, she was ignored. Oksana Pokalchuk was contacted before publication, but did not reply by August 4 with a statement on the findings of the report, Amnesty defends.
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Pokalchuk said there was not nearly enough time to respond to the report. Now it has turned into a statement that has become a “Russian propaganda tool” and sounds like “supporting Russian narratives”. “Unless you live in a country that’s being invaded by occupiers who are tearing it to pieces, you probably don’t understand what it’s like to condemn an army of defenders,” Pokalchuk said. “And there are no words in any language that can convey that to someone who hasn’t experienced that pain.”
Despite all the criticism, Amnesty International still stands by the report. Secretary-General Agnès Callamard told the AFP news agency that the investigation and its findings were “completely supported”. The research is based on evidence that was collected as part of extensive investigations. (aa/afp)