Pokalchuk said she had tried to warn Amnesty's senior leadership that the report was one-sided and failed to properly take into account the Ukrainian position, but she was ignored.

Amnesty says it contacted defence officials in Kyiv with its findings on 29 July, but had not received a response by the time of publication -- but Pokalchuk argued that this wasn't nearly enough notice.

"As a result, the organisation unintentionally put out a statement that sounded like support for Russian narratives. Striving to protect civilians, this research instead became a tool of Russian propaganda."

Amnesty listed incidents in which Ukrainian forces appeared to have exposed civilians to danger in 19 towns and villages in the Kharkiv, Donbas and Mykolaiv regions.

"We have documented a pattern of Ukrainian forces putting civilians at risk and violating the laws of war when they operate in populated areas," Amnesty secretary general Agnes Callamard said.

"Being in a defensive position does not exempt the Ukrainian military from respecting international humanitarian law."

Ukraine's government pushed back hard, with foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba branding the allegations "unfair" and Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov calling the report a "perversion".

President Volodymyr Zelensky said the rights group had tried to "amnesty the terrorist state and shift the responsibility from the aggressor to the victim."

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