Head of Ukrainian Amnesty office quits after group accuses Kyiv

A member of Ukraine’s National Guard jumps into a trench 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 endangering civilians by basing troops in residential areas during the Russian invasion.

Amnesty made the comments on Thursday and Kyiv compared them to Russian propaganda and disinformation. Read more

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy accused the group of encouraging what he called Russia’s unprovoked attacks on Ukraine. The human rights group, he said, was trying to shift the blame from the perpetrator to the victim.

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Oksana Pokalchuk, national head of Amnesty, said Friday evening on Facebook that the Ukrainian office had always noted that the information published by Amnesty on Thursday should take into account the position of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.

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

“It pains me to admit it, but we did not agree with the management of Amnesty International on the values. That’s why I decided to leave the organization,” she said. added.

Ukrainian officials said they were 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

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