Amnesty International Scandal Deprives Kiev of Western Support

NEW – August 13, 2022

Amnesty International issued a new rebuke to Kiev, and this time the human rights organisation did not justify itself, but, on the contrary, itself accused the Ukrainian government of lying. It angrily rejected Kiev’s claims that human rights activists allegedly collected their data in certain “filtration camps” under the hood of the Russian intelligence agencies.

Amnesty International (AI) has issued a new harsh statement to Kiev. The human rights organisation denies that in its sensational report of August 4, it relied on the testimony of people who live in the territory controlled by Russian troops.

“None of the people we interviewed for additional evidence, other than what the researchers saw directly, were in Russian prisons or ‘filtration camps’ or on territories controlled by Russia to which AI does not have access,” the human rights activists said on their website. The organisation assured that they collected evidence on the territory controlled not by Russia, but by Ukraine, and that the interviewees testified “voluntarily and in safe conditions”.

The statement of human rights defenders was a rebuke to another reproach that was previously made by Kiev, or rather the Centre for Strategic Communications and Information Security, created in March at the Ministry of Culture and Information of Ukraine as a headquarters “to combat disinformation”. The centre is headed by Lyubov Tsybulskaya, an adviser to the head of the Ministry, Aleksandr Tkachenko. By the way, the Telegram channel of this Centre is the only official Ukrainian source that is allowed to write in Russian.

Apparently, for the reason that the propagandists of the centre failed to challenge the facts given in the report, they decided to sow doubts about the reliability of the sources of information themselves.

“Amnesty International used the testimony of people who were in filtration camps and prisons in the temporarily occupied territories to prepare a scandalous report, which means that the interviews were done under obvious pressure,” the Centre said. “The survey was conducted among those ‘willing’ to provide this kind of information… Sometimes such a ‘correct’ interview was the only chance to pass filtering,” this version was expressed by the Centre.

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“Amnesty International categorically rejects these accusations. They have no basis and are completely false,” the American human rights activists stressed.

The fact that the Ukrainian security forces are turning the civilian population into a human shield was told to AI experts, in particular, by the resident of Lisichansk Nikolay. He complained: “I don’t understand why our military is firing from cities and not on the battlefield?”. At the time of communication with Amnesty International, Nikolay lived in a multi-storey building that was used by the Ukrainian Armed Forces as a cover for their combat positions, as a result of which the high-rise building often became the target of Russian artillery attacks, the human rights activists’ report said.

Another resident of Lisichansk, a 50-year-old man, told experts: “There is definitely military activity in the neighbourhood. When there is an outgoing fire, we then hear the incoming fire”. “Amnesty researchers witnessed how Ukrainian soldiers used a residential building about 180 meters from the entrance to an underground shelter used by residents, where an elderly man was killed, as a shelter,” the report said.

It is quite possible to assume that it was these testimonies that prompted Kiev propagandists to think that they were given by residents of territories not controlled by Kiev, since Lisichansk mentioned in the report was recaptured from the UAF by LPR units. It probably did not occur to them that human rights defenders were working in the city at a time when it was still in the hands of the Ukrainian military.

The LPR’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Russia, Rodion Miroshnik, is confident that Kiev will use all available levers to continue the persecution of AI.

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“We see that no one has any doubts about the facts from the Amnesty report. Everyone knows perfectly well that it contains the truth about Ukraine’s violation of the rules of warfare, humanitarian legislation and international law. The main claim of Kiev is purely emotional: How dare you tell the truth about the Ukrainian side?” explained Miroshnik.

The ambassador believes that the Kiev regime is convinced of its complete impunity and will try “to exert maximum pressure on Amnesty not for a truthful report, but for the courage to censure the American project itself called Ukraine”. “The adviser to the head of the office of the President of Ukraine, Vladimir Zelensky, Aleksey Arestovich, said quite clearly about this: ‘We can do anything’,” Miroshnik summed up.

Experts note that American human rights activists, mentioning the “filtration camps”, took this term, beloved by Kiev propaganda, in quotation marks. As is known, there are no filtration camps in the DPR and LPR. Apparently, in Kiev they understand it as prisons for prisoners of war.

According to Oleg Matveychev, deputy chairman of the Duma Committee on Information policy, Information Technologies and Communications, the Kiev Centre for Strategic Communications and Information Security does not do the job for which it was created. “The level of ‘professionalism’ gives itself away. If the employees of the Centre were not fools, they would simply remain silent in this case … And in general Kiev might not have noticed the report of human rights defenders. But these idiots raised a high for the whole world – and against their own by and large, they made a noisy fuss for the whole world. But one doesn’t have to yap at the master, at the Americans, at all. But they yap, not understanding anything. And we achieved the opposite effect,” Matveychev believes.

Political hysteria continues in Kiev following the results of the Amnesty report. The report of August 4 stated that Ukrainian troops are hiding behind civilians as a “human shield”, placing weapons and equipment in residential areas, schools and hospitals. By doing so, they violate the laws of war, posing a threat to the civilian population. Numerous facts were cited. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky sharply criticised the report, accusing Amnesty of “aiding terrorism”.

“A mature response to such criticism would be to take the conclusions seriously and work on improving army practice and protecting civilians, rather than blaming the speakers,” Politico noted on Thursday. “President Vladimir Zelensky would be better off admitting that even his heroic defenders are capable of making mistakes. Maintaining public support for Ukraine requires a constructive response to criticism from reputable human rights organisations, and not attempts to silence them or discredit their conclusions.”

Amnesty itself responded by saying that it would not change its standards, but later issued a contrite statement in which it carefully apologised for the “suffering and anger” that its report could cause. The very facts from the report were not refuted by the leadership of the organisation anyway. Against this background, fermentation began inside Amnesty, some of the employees could not stand the psychological pressure. More than 80 people have resigned from its Norwegian office of the organisation, wrote Ukrainian journalist Andrey Tsapliyenko. The Finnish branch of AI, according to Tsaplienko, had lost 400 of its sponsors by Friday. Earlier, the founder of the Swedish branch of AI, Per Wastberg, resigned, and last week the director of the Ukrainian branch, Oksana Pokalchuk, resigned.

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But the Centre for Strategic Communications and Information Security’s employees seem to have few such victims. On Friday, Lyubov Tsybulskaya again showered human rights defenders with reproaches, saying that “the Amnesty report helps the Kremlin”, and specifically, “plays along with the information campaign to disrupt the supply of Western weapons to Ukraine”.

Artur Priymak

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