London, Aug. 5 (Al Mayadeen) - Ukraine has been accused by humanitarian organization Amnesty International of violating international humanitarian law protocols by endangering civilians during the ongoing military conflict with Russia.

Findings: Violating International humanitarian law
According to the organization, it has been operating weapons out of bases established in residential areas while civilians are present, which breaches rule 23 of Article 58(b) of Additional Protocol I that separates military objectives and civilian populations.

"We have documented a pattern of Ukrainian forces putting civilians at risk and violating the laws of war when they operate in populated areas," Amnesty International Secretary General Agnès Callamard released in a statement. "Being in a defensive position does not exempt the Ukrainian military from respecting international humanitarian law."

An open investigation into Ukrainian military bases
During an investigation of Russian attacks in the regions of Kharkiv, Donbas and Mykolaiv in Ukraine between April and July, researchers said they discovered that the Ukrainian military was carrying out operations from within civilian buildings in at least 19 towns and villages, and at least five civilian hospitals. According to the release, this claim was later verified via satellite evidence.

As NATO continues to support providing ammunition to Ukraine, schools were not exempt, as Amnesty International also found that Ukraine had established military bases in 22 out of 29 schools in the Donbas and Mykolaiv regions during the investigation, which resulted in multiple deaths and injuries according to the World Health Organization.

While the bases in schools solely may not violate international humanitarian law because they were not in session, the organization said that their location near houses and apartment buildings without warning the residents or helping them to evacuate is considered a violation. The laws of war dictate that schools and hospitals can become legitimate targets for military offensives, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Callamard: Ukraine must never use civilian dense areas as army bases
Amnesty International further stressed that the Ukrainian military "distinguish between military objectives and civilian objects and take all feasible precautions" and immediately halt its operations out of civilian-populated areas. It claimed to have notified Ukraine of the findings of its investigation on July 29 but has not heard since as of Wednesday.

"The Ukrainian government should immediately ensure that it locates its forces away from populated areas, or should evacuate civilians from areas where the military is operating," Callamard said. "Militaries should never use hospitals to engage in warfare, and should only use schools or civilian homes as a last resort when there are no viable alternatives."

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