The Head of Amnesty International in Ukraine resigned after the organisation issued a report that accused Ukraine's military of endangering civilians.
Oksana Pokalchuk , who had led the organisation for almost 7 years in Ukraine stating that the conduct of the organisation in delivering and consulting on the report has led to this report becoming a "tool of Russian propaganda". Amnesty International said on Sunday that “We fully stand by our findings,”, but it stressed that “nothing we documented Ukrainian forces doing in any way justifies Russian violations”. Pokalchuk has said the report had become a point of conflict between staff in the Ukrainian office and the larger organisation.
The report published last Thursday accused the Ukrainian military of endangering civilians by establishing bases in schools and hospitals and launching counterattacks from heavily populated areas. Amnesty’s report listed instances in which Ukrainian forces appeared to have exposed civilians to danger in 19 towns and villages in the Kharkiv, Donbas and Mykolaiv regions.
“Being in a defensive position does not exempt the Ukrainian military from respecting international humanitarian law,” Agnès Callamard, secretary general of Amnesty International, said in a statement accompanying the report. Callamard has previously said Russia was “breaching the sovereignty of Ukraine and challenging the global security architecture,” calling the invasion “the worst such catastrophe in recent European history.”
The report received backlash from Ukrainian officials. President Volodymyr Zelensky, said Amnesty International was trying “to amnesty the terrorist state and shift the responsibility from the aggressor to the victim.”
President Volodymyr Zelensky, in remarks Saturday evening, criticized the “very eloquent silence” from Amnesty International on alleged Russian attacks on a nuclear plant in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine. Zelensky said it “once again indicates the manipulative selectivity of this organisation.”
Amnesty International has said it “deeply regrets the distress and anger” caused after it alleged that Ukrainian forces were flouting international law by exposing civilians to Russian fire.