Amnesty International has accused Ukraine of ‘violating international humanitarian law’. In a report the human rights organisation has criticised the Ukrainian armed forces for operating out of residential areas when defending cities, thus exposing civilians to Russian shelling. Is the NGO confusing victims and perpetrators?

Today, Europe’s press debates a controversial report from Amnesty International regarding civilians in Ukraine. Here are some opinions from a selection of European publications presented by eurotopics.

Public reception not taken into account

The report unintentionally plays into Moscow’s hands, the taz criticises:

“The fact that Russia is attacking Ukraine and not the other way around, and that the danger for Ukrainian civilians arises from Russia’s is firing at civilian targets has been swept under the table. This was predictable, as there is no room for differentiation in the emotionally charged atmosphere surrounding the war in Ukraine. A seasoned human rights organization like AI should know this. It should be able to anticipate how its reports will be received by the public. And it should be able to publish its findings in such a way that they do not enable a perpetrator-victim reversal in Moscow and provoke outrage in Kyiv.”

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Not the time for conspiracy theories

Even though the report criticises Kyiv’s defence strategy, it does not mean Amnesty is siding with Putin, Il Manifesto points out:

ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, July 12, 2024
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ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, July 12, 2024

Latest from the Institute for the Study of War.

“The Ukrainian resistance is not a holy, pristine struggle, as it has been portrayed for months by almost the entire international community. … This report constitutes an executioner’s axe for the Kyiv narrative, which has always portrayed Russian generals as calculating sadists who attack public buildings only to sow panic among the civilian population and claim as many victims as they can. … It would be foolish to describe Amnesty as pro-Russian or, as all manners of conspiracy theorists like to say, as ‘subservient to the strong powers’, even though more than a few will try to do just that.”

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