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Message Ukraine commits war crimes because it “transferred” the war to Ukrainian cities

This thesis was circulated on social networks, in particular on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. Reports say Ukraine is actually committing war crimes by taking the war to the cities. Like, there are more people in cities, and they suffer from the fact that the military builds fortifications, “military bases in hospitals”, etc. According to the authors, the Ukrainian Defense Forces deliberately do not evacuate people from cities so that Ukrainian civilians would die.

The fact checkers of the VoxCheck project took up this case and determined that these theses are not true. They explained that Ukraine does not commit war crimes and did not “transfer” the war to Ukrainian cities since it is Russia that has been committing war crimes on the territory of Ukraine since 2014, shelling peaceful cities and terrorizing civilians. And after the start of a full-scale invasion, the Ukrainian authorities constantly organize evacuations from the front-line territories. The Russians are shelling Ukrainian territories, cities and villages, respectively, the Ukrainian Defense Forces are protecting civilians from the invaders.

It is clear that the military can equip the territory of the city for the needs of protection, without violating basic human rights and international law. Therefore, the allegation about the construction of military fortifications (or any fortifications in cities or villages) and violation of the rules of warfare is unfounded. On the contrary, it helps protect people from Russian shelling. With this message propagandists transfer responsibility from the aggressor to the victim as if the Ukrainian troops are to blame for the fact that Ukraine is shelled daily and they must defend themselves.

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