The head of Ukraine’s Amnesty office leaves after the group accuses Kiev

Written by Javed Iqbal

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

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KYIV, Aug 6 (Reuters) – The head of Amnesty International’s Ukraine branch is leaving the human rights body after the group accused Ukraine’s armed forces of putting civilians at risk 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 aiding what he called Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine. The human rights group, he said, was trying to shift responsibility from the aggressor to the victim.

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

“As a result, the organization unwittingly created material that sounded supportive of Russian narratives. In an effort to protect civilians, this investigation became a tool for Russian propaganda,” Pokalchuk said.

“It pains me to admit it, but we disagreed with the leadership of Amnesty International about values. That’s why 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 attacking civilians in what it describes as a “special military operation”.

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Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Kim Coghill

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Javed Iqbal

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