Amnesty International has claimed Ukraine’s military tactics have “endangered civilians” and “violated” international humanitarian law.

The organisation, which is headquartered in the UK, focuses on raising awareness of human rights.

The organisation has now published a press release in which it makes allegations about the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

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Amnesty International alleges Ukraine’s tactics ‘endanger civilians’

In a press release published on Twitter on Wednesday, 3 August, Amnesty International alleged Ukrainian forces had “put civilians in harm’s way by establishing bases and operating weapons systems in populated residential areas”.

The organisation claims Ukraine’s tactics “violate international humanitarian law and endanger civilians” by setting up military bases in civilian buildings such as hospitals and schools.

The organisation alleged Ukrainian forces had launched strikes from populated residential areas and based themselves in civilian buildings in 19 towns and villages in the country.

Amnesty International added, however, that Ukraine’s alleged tactics “in no way justify Russia’s indiscriminate attacks”.

HITC has reached out to Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence for comment.

Amnesty International chief calls for evacuation of civilians

Amnesty International secretary general Agnès Callamard said Ukraine’s defensive tactics should be in line with “international humanitarian law”.

“We have documented a pattern of Ukrainian forces putting civilians at risk and violating the laws of war when they operate in populated areas,” Callamard claims in the media release.

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

Callamard added: “The Ukrainian government should immediately ensure it locates its forces away from populated areas or should evacuate civilians from areas where the military is operating. Militaries should never use hospitals to engage in warfare, and should only use schools or civilian homes as a last resort when there are no viable alternatives.”

Amnesty International said it had contacted the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence about the research but had yet to receive a reply.

More about the findings

Amnesty International claimed it had found evidence of current or prior military activity at 22 of 29 schools it visited during its investigation. The organisation claimed Russian forces had launched strikes on several schools where Ukrainian forces were present.

While Amnesty International said its research “does not in any way justify indiscriminate Russian attacks”, it asked Ukrainian forces to “distinguish between military objectives and civilian objects and take all feasible precautions”.

The International Committee of the Red Cross states: “The laws of war prohibit direct attacks on civilian objects, like schools. They also prohibit direct attacks against hospitals and medical staff, which are specially protected under IHL [international humanitarian law].

“That said, a hospital or school may become a legitimate military target if it contributes to specific military operations of the enemy and if its destruction offers a definite military advantage for the attacking side.”

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