Head of Ukraine’s Amnesty office leaves after group accuses Kyiv

A member of the Ukrainian National Guard jumps into a trench at a position near a front line as the Russian assault on Ukraine continues, in the Kharkiv region, Ukraine on Aug. 3, 2022. REUTERS/Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy/File Photo

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KYIV, Aug. 6 (Reuters) – The head of the Ukraine branch of Amnesty International is leaving the human rights body after the group accused the Ukrainian armed forces of endangering civilians by basing troops in residential areas during the Russian invasion.

Amnesty made the comments on Thursday and Kiev compared it to Russian propaganda and disinformation. read more

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy accused the group of complicity in what he called Russia’s unprovoked attacks on Ukraine. The human rights organization, he said, was trying to shift responsibility from the aggressor to the victim.

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Oksana Pokalchuk, Amnesty’s national leader, said late Friday on Facebook that the Ukrainian office has consistently noted that the information Amnesty provided Thursday should take into account the position of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry.

“As a result, the organization has, unknowingly, created material that sounded like support for Russian narratives. In an effort to protect civilians, this study became a tool of Russian propaganda,” Pokalchuk said.

“It pains me to admit it, but we disagreed with Amnesty International’s leadership on values, so I decided to leave the organization,” she added.

Ukrainian officials have said they are taking all possible measures to evacuate civilians from frontline areas. Russia denies targeting civilians in what it describes as a “special military operation”.

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Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Kim Coghill

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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