Ukraine violates war laws, endangers civilians: Amnesty International

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Amnesty International has accused Ukraine of war crimes amid the ongoing military conflict with invading Russian forces.

The humanitarian organization said in a press release on Wednesday that the Ukrainian military’s tactics “violate international humanitarian law and endanger civilians” by using weapons from residential bases while civilians are present.

Russia has previously been accused by Amnesty International of violating multiple international laws during the war. The organization said on Wednesday that Ukraine’s alleged violations “in no way justify Russia’s indiscriminate attacks”.

“We have documented a pattern of Ukrainian armed forces endangering civilians and violating the laws of war when operating in populated areas,” Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnès Callamard said in a statement. “Being in a defensive position does not absolve the Ukrainian military from respecting international humanitarian law.”

During an investigation into Russian attacks in Ukraine’s Kharkiv, Donbas and Mykolaiv regions between April and July, Amnesty International investigators found that the Ukrainian military was operating out of civilian buildings in at least 19 cities and towns. The discovery was confirmed by satellite images, according to the release.

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The organization said Ukraine has committed “a clear violation of international humanitarian law” by placing at least five military facilities in civilian hospitals. Russian airstrikes on healthcare facilities have resulted in a significant number of civilian casualties and deaths during the war, according to the World Health Organization.

Amnesty International also found that Ukraine had installed military bases in 22 of the 29 schools visited in the Donbas and Mykolaiv regions during the investigation, according to the release. The organization said Russia later launched strikes at many of the same schools between April and the end of June, resulting in multiple deaths and injuries.

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After the destruction of schools in at least three cities, the Ukrainian military is accused of moving bases to schools in different areas, putting the community around the new bases at risk of similar attacks.

While the bases in schools themselves may not violate international humanitarian law because the schools were not in session, the organization said Ukraine has placed bases in schools near houses and apartment buildings without warning residents or helping them. evacuate.

In some cases, the laws of war dictate that schools and hospitals can become legitimate targets for military strikes, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Amnesty International said its investigation “does not in any way justify indiscriminate Russian attacks”, while urging the Ukrainian military to “distinguish military targets from civilian objects and take all feasible precautions” and immediately stop operating from civilian populated areas.

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“The Ukrainian government must immediately ensure that it moves its troops away from populated areas, or evacuates civilians from areas where the army is active,” Callamard said. “Military should never use hospitals to wage war and should only use schools or civilian homes as a last resort if there are no viable alternatives.”

Amnesty International said it notified the Ukrainian government of the investigation’s findings on July 29, but had heard nothing by Wednesday.

News week contacted the Embassy of Ukraine in Washington, DC, for comment.

The post Ukraine violates war laws, endangers civilians: Amnesty International appeared first on Newsweek.

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