Ukraine's president took aim at a recent Amnesty International report alleging that the country's troops endangered civilians and violated international law in the ongoing war with Russia, saying that the publication "cannot be tolerated."
"There cannot be -- even hypothetically -- any condition under which any Russian attack on Ukraine becomes justified. Aggression against our state is unprovoked, invasive and openly terroristic," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Thursday in a statement.
"If someone makes a report in which the victim and the aggressor are allegedly the same in something, if some data about the victim is analyzed and what the aggressor was doing at that time is ignored, this cannot be tolerated," he added.
In a report on Thursday, Amnesty had listed incidents in 19 cities and towns in which Ukrainian forces appeared to have put civilians in harm's way by establishing bases in residential areas -- findings Zelenskyy equated to victim blaming in an evening address.
The rights group said a four-month investigation found that the Ukrainian military had set up bases in schools and hospitals and launched assaults from populated places, in violation of international humanitarian law.
However, it emphasized that the strategies "in no way justify Russia's indiscriminate attacks," which have killed and injured "countless civilians."
Zelenskyy responded by saying: "Anyone who amnesties Russia and who artificially creates such an informational context that some attacks by terrorists are supposedly justified or supposedly understandable, cannot but realize that it helps the terrorists."
Calling the report "manipulative," he said its publication shared in "the responsibility for the death of people."
At least 5,237 civilians have been killed and 7,035 injured in Ukraine since the beginning of the war on Feb. 24, according to the UN. Some 10 million people have also fled to neighboring countries.