Zelensky condemns Amnesty report for ‘explaining terror’

Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky does not have a good word for the report published by Amnesty International on Thursday, in which the human rights organization states that Ukrainian combat tactics endanger its own civilians. “Responsibility is thus shifted from the aggressor to the victim,” Zelenski said in his daily speech.

With the report “the human rights organization tries to justify the Russian terror”, says Zelensky. “There is no conceivable condition that would justify the Russian attack on Ukraine,” the Ukrainian president said. Zelensky adds in his speech that the Russian aggression “has not been provoked”.

Amnesty found in the report that numerous Ukrainian civilians were killed and injured between April and July as a result of Ukraine’s tactics of making military targets including residential areas, villages, homes, condominiums, hospitals and schools. In doing so, the Ukrainian army is violating international humanitarian law, Amnesty said.

Earlier Thursday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Koeleba said the report was “unfair”. According to Koeleba, conclusions would be miles from the truth and Ukraine is a country that “desperately tries to defend itself”.

Several experts told the NOS on Thursday that Amnesty’s report is “full of holes” and it is unclear on what evidence the human rights organization comes to its conclusions.

Defense specialist at Clingendael, Dick Zandee, tells the NOS that he would like to see more facts and photos after reading the Amnesty report. “Based on this limited data, the allegations are difficult to assess. And from the point of view of Ukraine, I doubt it. The country would lose popular support if the army did draw fire on schools or houses where people are present.”