Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has accused Amnesty International of being a terrorist organisation, after the human rights organisation condemned the Ukrainian military for placing weapons in civilian areas in violation of humanitarian law.
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President Zelensky responded to Amnesty’s report which detailed 22 cases of Ukrainian forces launching strikes from schools and five examples of troops using hospitals as bases, in a video address on Thursday evening.
“Today we saw a report by Amnesty International, which unfortunately tries to amnesty the terrorist state and shift responsibility from the aggressor to the victim,” Zelensky said.
“If someone makes a report that puts the aggressor and the victim on the same level, this cannot be tolerated,” he said, repeating three times that “Ukraine is a victim,” and adding that “anyone who doubts this is an accomplice of Russia – a terrorist country – and a terrorist themselves and a participant in the killings.”’
In his speech, Zelensky accused the Russian military of “striking at memorials to Holocaust victims” and “at a prisoner of war camp in Yelenovka.” Zelensky was apparently referring to a strike on a Holocaust memorial in March, which actually hit a TV tower nearby. An Israeli journalist stated that the memorial itself was untouched.
Despite the fact that the Amnesty report also accused Russia of breaking international law, the organization was being accused online by supporters of Zelensky’s regime, who accused it of peddling “Russian propaganda.”
In his response, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba pushed back against the report, accusing Amnesty of “creating a false reality” where everyone “is at fault for something.” The Minister argued that the organization should focus exclusively on alleged Russian wrongdoing.
Despite the torrent of accusations, the Secretary General, Amnesty International, Agnes Callamard stuck by the report of her organisation. Taking to Twitter, she accused “social media mobs and trolls” on both sides of the conflict of spreading “war propaganda, disinformation, (and) misinformation”.
Ukrainian and Russian social media mobs and trolls: they are all at it today attacking @amnesty investigations. This is called war propaganda, disinformation, misinformation. This wont dent our impartiality and wont change the facts. https://t.co/YvMy2E3d6p
— Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) August 4, 2022
Nnamdi Maduakor is a Writer, Investor and Entrepreneur