Amnesty Intl. describes unprecedented human rights abuses in Ukraine

Describing the conflict as "an act of aggression," Amnesty noted that it has caused the worst refugee and human rights crisis in Europe since the Second World War.

A view shows an apartment building destroyed in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine March 25, 2022. (photo credit: REUTERS/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO)
A view shows an apartment building destroyed in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine March 25, 2022.
(photo credit: REUTERS/ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO)

Human Rights watchdog Amnesty International has been updating its report about human rights abuses by both sides in Russia's war against Ukraine, noting that the Russians, in particular, are making a strong effort to cover up war crimes:

"Russian President Vladimir Putin, his government and the Russian armed forces are desperate to hide the truth about the war, including the possible war crimes they are committing in Ukraine," the report reads. "This page will feature Amnesty International’s regular updates on the conflict, which help to uncover the human rights crises caused by Russia’s invasion."

Describing the conflict as "an act of aggression," Amnesty said that it has caused the worst refugee and human rights crisis in Europe since the Second World War. It noted that there have been illegal killings of civilians and destruction of infrastructure, as well as attempts to prevent aid from reaching civilians.

In addition, Russian forces have laid siege to cities such as Mariupol and Izium and have deliberately attacked hospitals and schools. Amnesty noted that these, in addition to the use of illegal weapons that have a wide area of effect and are often inaccurate, may be considered war crimes.

A resident extinguishes a fire after a bombing destroyed a family home in a northern district of Kharkiv as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, Ukraine, March 24, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/THOMAS PETER)A resident extinguishes a fire after a bombing destroyed a family home in a northern district of Kharkiv as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, Ukraine, March 24, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/THOMAS PETER)

Regarding the besieged cities, Amnesty brought attention to the fact that residents in Izium and Mariupol face starvation and lack of medical care and are cut off from water, heating and electrical power.

In Russia, the report noted, authorities have cracked down on journalists and citizens who oppose the war, imposing prison sentences up to 15 years on people it catches spreading "fake news."

Amnesty added that "the Kremlin remains hellbent on hiding the human cost of its war and has blocked independent news sites and social media." Over 15,000 protesters have been imprisoned since the invasion began, it added.