Russia-Ukraine war: Kyiv calls Amnesty report that says Ukrainian forces are putting civilians at risk a ‘perversion’ – live | Ukraine

0
17


Kyiv calls Amnesty report that says Ukrainian forces are endangering citizens ‘unfair’ and a ‘perversion’

Ukraine has slammed a report by Amnesty International (See 13:56) which found that Ukrainian forces are endangering civilians as “unfair” and a “perversion”.

Advertisement

Foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba says in a video posted on Facebook:

This behaviour of Amnesty International is not about finding and reporting the truth to the world, it is about creating a false equivalence – between the offender and the victim, between the country that destroys hundreds and thousands of civilians, cities, territories, and a country that is desperately defending itself.

Top presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak insisted Ukraine’s armed forces take all measures to move civilians to safer areas and suggested Amnesty was complicit in spreading Kremlin disinformation.

He tweeted:

The only thing that poses a threat to Ukrainians is (Russian) army of executioners and rapists coming to (Ukraine) to commit genocide.

Advertisement
Advertisement

The only thing that poses a threat to Ukrainians is 🇷🇺 army of executioners and rapists coming to 🇺🇦 to commit genocide. Our defenders protect their nation and families. People’s lives are the priority for Ukraine, that is why we are evacuating residents of front-line cities. 1/2

— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) August 4, 2022

Today, Moscow tries to discredit the Armed Forces of 🇺🇦 in the eyes of Western societies and disrupt weapons supply using the entire network of influence agents. It is a shame that the organization like @amnesty is participating in this disinformation and propaganda campaign. 2/2

Advertisement

— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) August 4, 2022

Meanwhile, defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov called the report a “perversion” as he said it questioned the right of Ukrainians to defend their country.

Advertisement

Key events

Advertisement
Advertisement

A US official accused Moscow of preparing to plant fake evidence to make it look like the recent mass killing of Ukrainian prisoners in an attack on a Russian-controlled prison was caused by Ukraine.

Advertisement

Kyiv and Moscow have traded blame over the strikes on the prison in Kremlin-controlled Olenivka in eastern Ukraine, which Russia said took place overnight on July 29.

On Thursday the US official, who asked not to be named, said that intelligence reports show Russia will doctor the scene at the prison ahead of the possible visits by outside investigators.

The official told AFP, without sharing the evidence:

We expect that Russian officials are planning to falsify evidence in order to attribute the attack on Olenivka Prison on 29 July to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

We anticipate that Russian officials will try to frame (Ukraine’s military)… in anticipation of journalists and potential investigators visiting the site of the attack.

Advertisement
Advertisement

More than 50 soldiers died in the incident, including troops who had surrendered after weeks of defending the Azovstal steel works in Mariupol.

Here are some of the latest images sent to us from Ukraine over the news wires.

Ukrainian volunteers make a camouflage net for the army in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Ukrainian volunteers make a camouflage net for the army in Kharkiv. Photograph: Sergey Kozlov/EPA
FILE PHOTO: Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv regionFILE PHOTO: A member of the Ukrainian National Guard jumps into a trench at a position near a front line, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv region, Ukraine August 3, 2022. REUTERS/Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy/File Photo
A member of the Ukrainian National Guard jumps into a trench at a position near a front line. Photograph: Reuters
Residents carry bags with food in the small village of Malaya Rohan in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Residents carry bags with food in the small village of Malaya Rohan in Kharkiv. Photograph: Nacho Doce/Reuters
Vegetables grow next to the destroyed hulk of a Russian military vehicle at a garden in the village of Velyka Dymerka, Ukraine
Vegetables grow next to the destroyed hulk of a Russian military vehicle at a garden in the village of Velyka Dymerka, Ukraine Photograph: Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA
People line up to receive bread at a humanitarian aid distribution point in Zaporizhzhia.
People line up to receive bread at a humanitarian aid distribution point in Zaporizhzhia. Photograph: Andriy Andriyenko/AP
A police officer helps and older man to board a train to Dnipro and Lviv during an evacuation effort in Pokrovsk, Ukraine.
A police officer helps and older man to board a train to Dnipro and Lviv during an evacuation effort in Pokrovsk, Ukraine. Photograph: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters
The graves of recently killed Ukrainian soldiers line a cemetery as a gravedigger covers the casket of Serhiy Marchenko following his burial service in Pokrovsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. Marchenko, 26, was killed in battle July 28 with Russian forces in the Donetsk region. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
The graves of recently killed Ukrainian soldiers line a cemetery as a gravedigger covers a casket in Pokrovsk, eastern Ukraine. Photograph: David Goldman/AP
Ukrainian volunteers make pillows for the army in Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Ukrainian volunteers make pillows for the army in Kharkiv. Photograph: Sergey Kozlov/EPA

Nato members are working closely with defence companies to ensure Ukraine gets more supplies of weapons and equipment to be prepared for the long haul in its war with Russia, the Nato secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said on Thursday.

Stoltenberg told Reuters in an interview:

Advertisement

We are providing a lot of support but we need to do even more and be prepared for the long haul.

Therefore we’re also now in close contact and working closely with the defence industry to produce more and to deliver more of different types of ammunition, weapons and capabilities.

Stoltenberg said separately in a speech in Norway to local Labour party activists on Thursday that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation”, had created the most dangerous moment for Europe since the second world war and that Russia could not be allowed to win.

He also accused Vladimir Putin of engaging in “reckless and dangerous” rhetoric regarding the potential use of nuclear arms.

While NATO members are not directly involved in the war, NATO is closely involved in coordinating the Western response to the invasion.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Stoltenberg reiterated his position that the war would likely end only after negotiations.

He told Reuters:

We know most wars end at the negotiating table. We also know that the outcome of those negotiations will be totally dependent on the strength on the battlefield.

It’s not for me to tell Ukraine what those terms exactly should be. It’s for me and NATO to support them to strengthen their hands, so we maximize the likelihood of an acceptable solution.

The war has led previously non-aligned Finland and Sweden to seek NATO membership, with the request so far ratified by 23 of the 30 member states, including the United States.

Advertisement

Stoltenberg said:

This is the fastest accession protocol in NATO’s modern history. I expect the other seven remaining allies to do the same.

He said Turkey’s demand for extraditions from Sweden and Finland of terrorism suspects would have to be decided by courts in the two Nordic nations.

“The rule of law applies in Finland and Sweden,” Stoltenberg said.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Finland’s foreign minister has presented a plan for limiting tourist visas issued to Russians, after increasing tourism from its eastern neighbour spurred discontent due to the war in Ukraine.

As flights from Russia to the EU have been halted, Finland has become a transit country for many Russians seeking to travel further into Europe.

“Many saw this as a circumvention of the sanctions regime,” Foreign minister Pekka Haavisto told AFP.

Finland is seeking NATO membership after political and popular support for the alliance soared following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, but the Nordic country remains Russia’s only EU neighbour without restrictions on tourist visas to Russian citizens.

Although the Schengen regime and Finnish law do not allow for a outright ban on visas based on nationality, Finland can reduce visa numbers issued based on category, Haavisto noted.

Advertisement

“Tourism category can be restricted in the terms of how many visas can be applied for in a day,” Haavisto said.

Joe Biden said on Thursday that the sentencing of basketball star Brittney Griner to nine years in prison on drugs charges in Russia was “unacceptable” and called on Moscow to release her immediately.

Biden said a statement:

Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney.

It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Griner’s defence said they will file an appeal on behalf of the US basketball star.

Griner’s defence team said that in sentencing the court had ignored all evidence they had presented as well as Griner’s guilty plea.

They said they were “disappointed” by the verdict.

Russian court jails US basketballer Brittney Griner for nine years on drug charges

Andrew Roth

Andrew Roth

A Moscow court has convicted the US basketball player Brittney Griner on drug charges, sentencing her to nine years in prison and a 1m rouble fine in a politically charged verdict that could lead to a prisoner swap with the United States.

Griner, a basketball talent who played in Russia during off-seasons from the Phoenix Mercury, was arrested for cannabis possession in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport in February.

Advertisement

Her arrest came just days before Russia invaded Ukraine, launching frantic backdoor negotiations between the US and Russian intelligence services as her trial played out in a small courthouse just outside the Moscow city limits.

Her formal conviction, which was a foregone conclusion, would be a necessary step towards a prisoner exchange. US officials say Russia wants to swap Griner and Paul Whelan, a former US marine arrested on spying charges in 2020, for the convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout.

While she pleaded guilty to the drug charges, the US has classified Griner as “wrongfully detained”, launching a process similar to hostage negotiations with Iran and other countries. A senior US embassy official attended Thursday’s hearing and verdict, where police spetsnaz (special forces) and bomb-sniffing dogs patrolled the hallways.

Prosecutors asked for a nine and a half year prison sentence for Griner and a hefty fine, nearly the maximum in her case.

In an emotional closing statement on Thursday, Griner apologised to her teammates and told the courtroom that she had made an “honest mistake”, adding “that is why I pled guilty to my charges but I had no intent of breaking the law”.

Advertisement
Advertisement

She has also rejected the political implications of her case, making an emotional appeal directly to the judge, Anna Sotnikova.

“I know everybody keep talking about ‘political pawn’ and ‘politics,’ but I hope that is far from this courtroom,” she said, asking for leniency.

In the end, it was not shown.

Read the full story here:

Advertisement

The first shipment of Ukrainian grain to the UK since the war began is expected to arrive in 10 days, western officials said.

Millions of tonnes of grain have been stuck in Ukraine since Russia invaded just over six months ago.

A UN-brokered agreement last month allowed the first Ukrainian shipment to be cleared for travel this week, with the Sierra Leone-flagged Razoni carrying corn and entering the Bosphorus Strait on the way to Lebanon on Wednesday.

Speaking about the newly re-established Ukrainian grain exports, a western official said the Malta-flagged Rojen is “due to arrive in the UK on August 14,” PA News reports.

The official said:

Advertisement
Advertisement

This will almost certainly be the first shipment from Ukraine to arrive in the UK since the end of February and the start of the invasion.

The bulk carrier is expected to travel from the Port of Chornomorsk in Ukraine, where it is thought to be berthed and loaded, to the UK, but the official could not say which UK port is expected to receive it.

However, according to the VesselFinder website, the ship is due to arrive in Teesport on August 17.

The cargo is “probably corn or grain”, the official said, adding:

What it does show is that there is – which perhaps people don’t realise – direct supply of agricultural produce to the UK from the Ukraine.

Advertisement

Addressing the first shipment to leave Ukraine since the agreement, the official said:

It is almost certain the success of its transit will result in more frequent transits.

Clearing the backlog caused by the blockade that’s been in place since February will almost certainly remain a major logistical challenge.

But another western official, when asked about the shipment, said there is limited information available about when ships will be leaving Ukraine, and decisions are still be negotiated among the parties to the agreement.

They said:

Advertisement
Advertisement

At some point soon they will agree which ships will leave and when. We don’t have those details yet.

Kyiv calls Amnesty report that says Ukrainian forces are endangering citizens ‘unfair’ and a ‘perversion’

Ukraine has slammed a report by Amnesty International (See 13:56) which found that Ukrainian forces are endangering civilians as “unfair” and a “perversion”.

Foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba says in a video posted on Facebook:

This behaviour of Amnesty International is not about finding and reporting the truth to the world, it is about creating a false equivalence – between the offender and the victim, between the country that destroys hundreds and thousands of civilians, cities, territories, and a country that is desperately defending itself.

Top presidential aide Mykhailo Podolyak insisted Ukraine’s armed forces take all measures to move civilians to safer areas and suggested Amnesty was complicit in spreading Kremlin disinformation.

Advertisement

He tweeted:

The only thing that poses a threat to Ukrainians is (Russian) army of executioners and rapists coming to (Ukraine) to commit genocide.

The only thing that poses a threat to Ukrainians is 🇷🇺 army of executioners and rapists coming to 🇺🇦 to commit genocide. Our defenders protect their nation and families. People’s lives are the priority for Ukraine, that is why we are evacuating residents of front-line cities. 1/2

— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) August 4, 2022

Advertisement
Advertisement

Today, Moscow tries to discredit the Armed Forces of 🇺🇦 in the eyes of Western societies and disrupt weapons supply using the entire network of influence agents. It is a shame that the organization like @amnesty is participating in this disinformation and propaganda campaign. 2/2

— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) August 4, 2022

Meanwhile, defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov called the report a “perversion” as he said it questioned the right of Ukrainians to defend their country.

Advertisement
A serviceman of a Ukrainian National Guard unit takes part in training at their position in the Kharkiv area of Ukraine.
A serviceman of a Ukrainian National Guard unit takes part in training at their position in the Kharkiv area of Ukraine. Photograph: Sergey Kozlov/EPA

Back in the courtroom in Russia, US basketball player Brittney Griner has said she made an “honest mistake”.

In a closing statement, Griner added, “that is why I plead guilty to my charges but I had no intent of breaking the law”.

“I know everybody keep talking about ‘political pawn’ and ‘politics,’ but I hope that is far from this courtroom,” she said, asking the judge for leniency.

In February, Griner was arrested at a Moscow airport after authorities found vape canisters containing cannabis oil – for which she had a doctor’s recommendation – in her bags.

Advertisement
Advertisement

A verdict is expected later on Thursday.

Ukrainian forces putting civilians at risk, says Amnesty International

Ukrainian forces are violating international law and endangering civilians by establishing bases in residential areas, including in schools and hospitals, Amnesty International said on Thursday.

The defenders’ tactics “in no way justify Russia’s indiscriminate attacks”, the rights group said in a new report, and some Russian “war crimes”, including in the city of Kharkiv, were not linked to the tactics, AFP reports.

⚡️ Ukrainian forces have put civilians in harm’s way by establishing bases and operating weapons systems in populated residential areas.

Advertisement

— Amnesty International (@amnesty) August 4, 2022

But Amnesty listed incidents when Ukrainian forces appeared to have exposed civilians to danger in 19 towns and villages in the Kharkiv, Donbas and Mykolaiv regions.

Amnesty secretary general Agnes Callamard said:

We have documented a pattern of Ukrainian forces putting civilians at risk and violating the laws of war when they operate in populated areas.

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

Advertisement
Advertisement

The report was met with anger on Twitter.

A still image taken from a handout video made available by the Russian Defence Ministry’s press service shows a Russian military attack helicopter Mi-28 firing during battles at an undisclosed location in Ukraine.
A still image taken from a video made available by the Russian defence ministry’s press service shows a Russian military attack helicopter Mi-28 firing during battles at an undisclosed location in Ukraine. Photograph: Russian defence ministry press service/EPA

Russian prosecutors want 9.5 year jail term for US basketball player Brittney Griner

Andrew Roth

Andrew Roth

Russian prosecutors have asked for the US basketball player Brittney Griner to be sentenced to nine and a half years in prison, as the Kremlin wraps up her politically charged trial before a potential prisoner exchange.

Griner was arrested just days before Russia invaded Ukraine, which saw an already tense relationship between Washington and Moscow break down.

Advertisement

Prosecutors in the Russian court said Griner’s arrest on drug charges was “fully proven” and demanded she serve nearly a decade in a high-security prison and pay a large fine.

A verdict in Griner’s case was expected on Thursday evening, her lawyer, Maria Blagovolina, said.

A guilty verdict appears to be a foregone conclusion as Griner’s conviction would be a necessary step towards a prisoner exchange with the US. US officials say Russia is seeking to exchange Griner and Paul Whelan, a former US marine arrested on spying charges in 2020, for the convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout.

A lawyer for Whelan told the Guardian, however, that a final agreement did not seem to have been reached.

Julia Kollewe

Julia Kollewe

Long lines of Russian shoppers formed outside H&M stores in Moscow shopping centres this week when the Swedish fashion retailer reopened its doors to sell off stock before pulling out of the country for good.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Along with a spate of other western brands, including Ikea, Nike and Zara owner Inditex, H&M halted operations in Russia after its invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, but the retailer opened its doors one last time this week to clear out remaining goods.

Exiting Russia, its sixth-biggest market, is costing the company 2bn Swedish krona (nearly £170m) and affecting 6,000 staff.

Long queues were seen outside H&M stores at Moscow’s Aviapark shopping centre, according to footage posted on Telegram by news outlet Baza, and at the Metropolis mall.

One customer, Irina, told Reuters:

Well, it is closing, that’s why we are standing here. I’m going to buy whatever there is.

Advertisement

Another shopper, Ekaterina, said:

Sadly, the reason why all this is happening is awful. Everything else is meaningless, like how we are going to manage [without H&M].

While the Swedish furniture chain Ikea opted to hold an online-only sale from 5 July, H&M decided to temporarily reopen its stores in August. The world’s second-biggest fashion retailer after Spain’s Inditex rents 170 stores in Russia and has operated them directly.

Read the full story here:

Advertisement
Advertisement

Russian shelling of a bus stop on Thursday in the frontline east Ukraine town of Toretsk killed eight people and wounded four, the regional governor said.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Ukraine-run Donetsk region administration, wrote on Telegram:

According to preliminary information, there was artillery fire. They hit a public transport stop, where there was a crowd of people at that time.

He said that there were three children among the wounded.

The attack comes as Kyiv orders civilians to leave the war-torn Donetsk region bearing the brunt of Moscow’s gruelling offensive in the east of the country, AFP reports.

Advertisement

Kyrylenko wrote:

I appeal to all residents of the region: do not turn yourself into a target for the Russians! Evacuate in a timely fashion!

Ukrainian officials said Russian strikes continued to rain down on towns and cities across the sprawling frontline.

The mayor of southern city Mykolaiv said early morning shelling had damaged residential buildings in two districts.

Mykolaiv is the closest city to where Ukrainian forces are looking to launch a major counter-offensive and has been frequently hit by Moscow’s forces.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Officials in the north-eastern city of Kharkiv said missiles launched from Russian territory across the nearby shared border had hit industrial areas.

The UN is setting up a fact-finding mission to investigate the killing of dozens of prisoners of war at a prison in a Russian-occupied region of eastern Ukraine that Moscow and Kyiv accuse each other of carrying out.

António Guterres, the UN secretary general, told reporters he did not have authority to conduct criminal investigations but could conduct fact-finding missions, and terms of reference were being prepared for the governments of Ukraine and Russia to approve. The mission was set up in response to requests from Russia and Ukraine.

Russia claimed that Ukraine’s military used US-supplied rocket launchers to strike the prison in Olenivka, a settlement controlled by Russian-backed separatists. The attack killed 53 Ukrainian PoWs and wounded another 75, separatist authorities and Russian officials said.

Advertisement

The Ukrainian military denied carrying out any rocket or artillery strikes in Olenivka. The intelligence arm of the Ukrainian defence ministry claimed in a statement on Wednesday to have evidence that local Kremlin-backed separatists colluded with the Russian FSB, the KGB’s main successor agency, and mercenary group Wagner to mine the barrack before “using a flammable substance, which led to the rapid spread of fire in the room”.

The Ukrainian military on Tuesday likewise claimed that the barrack had been blown up from the inside, citing the nature of damage, which it said was inconsistent with Russian claims that Ukraine had shelled the building. It was not immediately possible to verify these claims.

The US, meanwhile, believes Russia is preparing to fabricate evidence pointing the finger at Ukraine.

Guterres said he took the requests from Russia and Ukraine for a UN investigation of last Friday’s attack “very seriously” and expressed hope that both countries would agree to the terms of reference. At the same time, he said, the UN was looking for “competent, independent people” to take part in the mission.

The UN chief also expressed hope the warring countries would facilitate the mission’s access and provide the data required “to clarify the truth about what happened”.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Read more here:

Here are some of the latest images sent to us from Ukraine over the news wires.

Mayor Ruslan Trebushkin kneels while presenting the Ukrainian flag to Lilia Panchenko, the mother of Oleh Panchenko, during his burial service in Pokrovsk, eastern Ukraine.
Mayor Ruslan Trebushkin kneels while presenting the Ukrainian flag to Lilia Panchenko, the mother of Oleh Panchenko, during his burial service in Pokrovsk, eastern Ukraine. Photograph: David Goldman/AP
An investigative committee officer stands inside a building damaged by shelling in Donetsk, which is under control of the Government of the Donetsk People’s Republic, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. (AP Photo)
An investigative committee officer surveys a building damaged by shelling in Donetsk. Photograph: AP
Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues in KramatorskPeople buy cleaning products from a stall outside the partially-closed Market of Kramatorsk, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, August 4, 2022. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
People buy cleaning products from a stall outside the partially-closed market of Kramatorsk. Photograph: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters
A woman stands amongst the debris after the Russian shelling in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022. Russian forces kept up their bombardment of the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv, shelling it twice over the past 24 hours, Mykolaiv regional governor Vitaliy Kim reported. The shelling damaged a pier, an industrial enterprise, residential buildings, a garage cooperative, a supermarket and a pharmacy, Kim said. (AP Photo/Kostiantyn Liberov)
A distressed woman is pictured among the debris after the Russian shelling in Mykolaiv, Ukraine. Photograph: Kostiantyn Liberov/AP
Holes of shrapnel are seen in a window of a building after shelling in Donetsk, which is under control of the Government of the Donetsk People’s Republic, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. (AP Photo)
Shrapnel holes pock a window of a building in Donetsk after shelling. Photograph: AP
Young volunteers from the ‘Repair Together’ initiative sit in a tractor bucket
Young volunteers from the Repair Together initiative take a break after cleaning rubble from a destroyed house in the Chernihiv region. Photograph: Roman Pilipey/EPA
Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues in KramatorskA man buys quail eggs inside the partially-closed Market of Kramatorsk, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, August 4, 2022. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
A man buys quail eggs inside the partially closed market of Kramatorsk, as Russia’s attack continues. Photograph: Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

The Kremlin said on Thursday that the Turkish-brokered deal to unblock Ukraine’s grain exports from the Black Sea was not a “one-off mechanism”, and that it hoped it would continue to work effectively.

Advertisement

The deal, which allows for Ukrainian grain to be shipped to world markets via Turkey, must be renewed every 120 days by agreement of the parties.

The EU intends to put together another financing package for Ukraine by September that will amount to about €8bn (£6.7bn), German government sources said.

Part of the package would be made up of grants that do not have to be repaid while another part will consist of loans, a government official told journalists on Thursday.





Source link

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here