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Ukraine’s Zelensky accuses Amnesty of blaming victims, more grain shipments are expected

#Ukraines #Zelensky #accuses #Amnesty #blaming #victims #grain #shipments #expected

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has hit out at Amnesty International after it accused its forces of violating international law and endangering civilians defending themselves against the Russian invasion.

The sharp rebuke came as three other ships loaded with over 58,000 tons of Ukrainian grain were due to leave Black Sea ports on Friday as part of a recent deal struck between Moscow and Kyiv to ease a global food shortage.

In a Thursday report, Amnesty listed incidents in 19 cities where Ukrainian forces appeared to put civilians at risk by setting up bases in residential areas — findings Zelenskyy equated with victim-blaming in his evening address.

The rights group, he said, was trying to “offer amnesty to the terrorist state and shift responsibility from the aggressor to the victim.”

“There is no condition, even hypothetical, under which any Russian attack on Ukraine would be justified. The aggression against our state is unprovoked, invasive and terroristic,” he added.

“If someone files a complaint that claims victims and attackers are equal…then that cannot be tolerated.”

After a four-month investigation, Amnesty said it found the Ukrainian military had set up bases in schools and hospitals and launched attacks from populated areas, claiming the tactic violated international humanitarian law.

However, the group noted that the tactic “in no way justifies Russia’s indiscriminate attacks” that have been beating civilians.

On Thursday, Russian bombings targeted several towns and villages, including Mykolaiv in the south, where residential buildings in two neighborhoods were damaged, the mayor said.

Eight people were killed and four injured in a Russian attack on a bus stop in Toretsk near the Eastern Front on Thursday, the regional governor said.

And in Kharkiv, the country’s second most populous city, local authorities reported Russian rocket attacks on industrial areas.

Ukrainian forces are conducting a counteroffensive in the south of the country, where they claim to have recaptured more than 50 villages previously controlled by Moscow.

– New shipments of grain –

Meanwhile, three more ships loaded with Ukrainian corn were due to depart Friday morning — two from the city of Chornomorsk and one from Odessa, where the first grain shipment from Ukraine since the war began set sail on Monday.

Grain shipments to world markets have resumed under a deal struck last month between Kyiv and Moscow – mediated by Turkey and under the auspices of the UN – to ease a crisis that has pushed up food prices in several countries Has .

Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar attributed Friday’s expected departures to “the intensive work of the Joint Coordination Center,” according to the state-run Anadolu News Agency. The center monitors the implementation of the agreement.

The deal provides for the establishment of secure corridors in the Black Sea to allow merchant ships to export between 20 and 25 million tons of Ukrainian grain that is being held in port.

A similar deal signed at the same time allows Russia to export its agricultural products and fertilizers despite Western sanctions.

Turkey hopes the deals could build trust and lead to a ceasefire between the two countries.

– Ex-President Sanctioned –

Separately, the European Union announced on Thursday that it is imposing sanctions on former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his son Oleksandr for allegedly undermining Ukraine’s security.

Yanukovych was overthrown in a popular uprising in 2014 against his government’s pro-Russian stance. After its fall, Moscow moved to annex Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and eastern Donbass region.

The EU argues that Yanukovych, now 72, still plays a “role in undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, as well as the stability and security of the state”.

The sanctions document accuses him of planning a return to power if the Russian invasion succeeds in overthrowing Zelenskyy. His son is accused of “conducting deals with the separatist groups in the Donbass region,” a nod to Russian proxy forces.

Meanwhile, Finland on Thursday unveiled plans to limit tourist visas for Russians, who have increasingly flocked to the country to travel to other European nations after flights from Russia were disrupted by EU sanctions.

Finland is seeking NATO membership along with Sweden, with the US ratifying the two countries’ accession protocols on Wednesday.

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#Ukraines #Zelensky #accuses #Amnesty #blaming #victims #grain #shipments #expected

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