Head of Amnesty's Ukraine office quits after group accuses Kyiv

Pokalchuk said Amnesty unwittingly "created material that sounded like support for Russian narratives of the invasion."

 The logo of Amnesty International is seen next to director of Mujeres En Linea Luisa Kislinger, during a news conference to announce the results of an investigation into humans rights abuses committed in Venezuela during protests against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela February 20, 2 (photo credit: REUTERS/CARLOS JASSO)
The logo of Amnesty International is seen next to director of Mujeres En Linea Luisa Kislinger, during a news conference to announce the results of an investigation into humans rights abuses committed in Venezuela during protests against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela February 20, 2
(photo credit: REUTERS/CARLOS JASSO)

The head of Amnesty International's Ukraine office has quit the human rights body in a disagreement with it after the group accused Ukraine's armed forces of endangering civilians by basing troops in residential areas during the Russian invasion.

Amnesty made the comments in a report published on Thursday that drew fierce criticism from the Ukrainian government. President Volodymyr Zelensky led denunciations of Amnesty's allegations, accusing the group of "trying to shift the responsibility from the aggressor to the victim." Amnesty's Ukraine head Oksana Pokalchuk said on Facebook late on Friday that she was resigning as she opposed the report's publication and now understood that she could not get it changed or removed.

Pokalchuk said Amnesty unwittingly "created material that sounded like support for Russian narratives of the invasion. In an effort to protect civilians, this study became a tool of Russian propaganda."

"It pains me to admit it, but we disagreed with the leadership of Amnesty International on values. That's why I decided to leave the organization."

Questions on Pokalchuk's resignation

Asked about Pokalchuk's resignation, an Amnesty spokesperson quoted Agnes Callamard, the organization's secretary general, as saying: “Oksana has been a valued member of Amnesty staff, and has led the Amnesty International Ukraine office for seven years with many significant human rights successes."

 Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Donetsk region (credit: REUTERS) Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Donetsk region (credit: REUTERS)

"It pains me to admit it, but we disagreed with the leadership of Amnesty International on values. That's why I decided to leave the organization."

Oksana Pokalchuk

"We are sorry to hear that she is leaving the organization, but we respect her decision and wish her well.”

Asked about the criticism of this week's report, Amnesty said it was preparing a further statement.