We are very troubled and concerned by the report published by your organisation claiming that the Ukrainian Armed Forces endanger the civilian population in Ukraine. Although it is true that Ukrainian civilians are endangered, it is false that the people defending Ukraine are responsible for this. Russian soldiers deliberately target civilian infrastructure and civilians – NOT Ukrainian soldiers who serve the Ukrainian people.
When the Russians enter Ukrainian cities and villages with the intention of destroying, killing, torturing, raping, looting and so on, what do you expect the Ukrainian Armed Forces to do? Do you expect them not to enter the city or the village, stand back and watch as the Russians continue their genocidal destruction of Ukraine? Russia choses to let the war take place in heavily populated areas – NOT Ukraine. Ukraine has, as far as possible, protected its civilian population from the Russian occupiers. Some clear examples of what happens if Ukrainian soldiers are unable to enter occupied Ukrainian cities are the many filtration camps set up throughout Ukraine by Russia.
It has been documented by different media outlets (including Russian) that some people in those areas have chosen to stay and wait for the Russians to “liberate” them, although Ukrainian authorities have urged and offered them to evacuate. This is not brought up in the report.
Also, many atrocities and war crimes conducted by Russia are not investigated and reported, by Amnesty International, for example the cynical inhumane mass murder of Ukrainian prisoners of war in Olenivka on the 29th of July, the torture of Ukrainian soldiers, the kidnapping of civilians in occupied territories, the usage of the nuclear power plant in Energodar as a shield for the artillery by the Russian soldiers etc. There seems to be a hidden agenda in your coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, where both parts appear to be equally guilty to the horrors of this war. This is not the case. Russia bears all the responsibility for this.
Furthermore, we have been deeply shocked by the language Secretary General Agnes Callamard uses in her tweet regarding the criticism of the report. Referring to real people whose homes and family members have been lost due to Russian aggression in Ukraine as “trolls” and “mobs” and to simply dismiss this very reasonable criticism as “propaganda” in such an aggressive and defensive manner is not what we had expected from a person in her position.
It has come to our attention that many who have been members of your organisation have now chosen to renounce their membership. Amnesty International’s reputation and credibility have been severely damaged. We demand that Amnesty International reviews this report and its sources. We also expect Secretary General Agnes Callamard to publicly apologise for such an unprofessional and ignorant behaviour and resign as soon as possible.
Ukrainian Association in Gothenburg (Ukrainska sällskapet i Göteborg)