Ukrainian officials say they are responsible for an explosion in the Olenivka penal colony in Russia-held Donetsk province early Friday that killed at least 53 Ukrainian prisoners of war. If Russia is found responsible, it would represent one of the worst war crimes committed by Russian forces since the February 24 attack.
President Volodymyr Zelensky later on Friday held a meeting with Ukraine’s chiefs of staff and parliament’s human rights commissioner to discuss the attack, which Ukraine says was carried out deliberately by Russian occupation forces. Ukrainskaya Pravda
In a report, Ukraine’s intelligence directorate said it believed the killing of Ukrainian prisoners in Olenivka was carried out by the Force Wagner group, a private mercenary group linked to Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigogine, without the coordination of Russian Defense Ministry leadership.
Russia’s official TASS news agency, which of course blamed Ukraine for the attack, reported that 53 of the 193 prisoners of war inside the pre-trial detention center at Olenivka were killed, and 71 others were wounded. Seven serious A surgeon told TASS that the wounded Ukrainian POWs were being treated in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Donetsk. TThe Russian Defense Ministry said eight prison employees were also injured.
Among those held in the Olenivka penal colony are defenders of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol who surrendered in mid-May.
The Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) said it had intercepted telephone conversations about the explosion:
“The Security Service of Ukraine intercepted a telephone conversation in which the occupiers confirmed that Russian forces were responsible for the tragedy. Thus, the terrorists of the so-called “DPR” also [self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic] Don’t believe the Russian propaganda lie that the ‘shelling’ of correctional facilities in Olenivka was implemented by Ukraine.
“Furthermore, the SSU has several such audio recordings – all of which will be included as evidence in relevant criminal proceedings. The Ukrainian special service has already initiated criminal proceedings under Article 438 (violation of the laws and customs of war) of the Criminal Code.”
The SSU said the intercepted talks indicated that “the Russians have perpetrated a tragedy due to the explosives placed on the colony’s premises.”
“None Eyewitnesses heard any rockets flying toward the correctional facility. There was no special whistle, and the explosions happened by themselves,” SSU reported.
The SSU report accused Russian forces of placing Grad systems near the Penal colony and firing them at Ukrainian-controlled territory, but said no return fire was observed from Ukrainian batteries. DNR fighters confirmed this, the report said.
The Special Service added that the videos showed that the windows of some rooms in the Penal Colony were fully protected, indicating that the epicenter of the blast was inside the destroyed building and its walls absorbed the blast waves.
In general, there is ample evidence that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not launch rocket and artillery attacks in the Olynyvka region. “Therefore, all Russian propaganda statements about the alleged shelling by the armed forces are absolutely false and inflammatory,” the SSU report said.
The Acting Head of the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine), Vasily Malyuk, said: “Whatever nonsense the enemy uses to justify himself, it is clear to everyone that the Russian Federation is guilty of the deliberate killing of Ukrainian prisoners. ” Malyuk said the security service will do everything possible to ensure that the culprits are punished.
one in Telegram Post The Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine called the explosions in Olynyvka “a deliberate provocation and an indisputable act of terrorism on the part of the occupying forces”. The Chief Directorate of Intelligence said:
“According to available information, they were carried out by the mercenaries of the Wagner Group Private Military Company (PMC) under the personal command of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the nominal owner of the PMC. The leadership of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation did not agree to the organization and execution of the terrorist attack.”
It said the Wagner group carried out the blast to cover up the theft of funds allocated for the care of Ukrainian prisoners. The report stated that a commission from Russia was due to arrive at Olenivka to review the expenditure of allocated funds and the conditions of detention of prisoners.
However, the actual condition of the building did not meet the requirements, so the “problem” was eliminated by destroying the building with Ukrainians inside. The second goal of the terrorist attack was to increase social tension around Ukraine, taking into account the public interest in the captured heroes of Azovstal,” the intelligence directorate said. It is said that the building was specially equipped to house the prisoners of Azovstal.
By the way, Prigozhin, who has close ties to Vladimir Putin, has been offered a $250,000 reward by the FBI. It is alleged to include “The Internet Research Agency conspired to defraud the United States by sponsoring a St. Petersburg-based “troll factory” that allegedly ran an online campaign to influence American elections and politics, particularly the 2016 presidential election. .
Prigozhin, known as “Putin’s chef” to serve the future Russian leader at his fancy St. Petersburg restaurant, is a major military contractor responsible for supplying food to Russian forces.
Among the dead were members of the Azov Regiment who were captured when Azovstal defenders threw down their weapons, said Andriy Biletsky, the regiment’s founder. He called it a “premeditated act” in violation of the Geneva Conventions and the laws of war by a country “to which the concept of honor for officers is unknown.”
“I, on behalf of the Azov units, announce a manhunt for everyone involved in the mass murder. Every rank-and-file actor and every organizer, regardless of their position and location, will take responsibility. Wherever you hide, you will be found and eliminated,” Biletsky said in a Telegram post.
Russia’s Tass news agency claimed that it was Ukrainian forces that opened fire on the detention center. It has been said that Of the 193 people in the building, 53 were killed. “I believe it is a war crime because the Ukrainian authorities killed their own people because all the prisoners of war are Ukrainian citizens,” he said. Deputy Militia Chief in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Eduard Basurin.
A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman claimed the attack was carried out by a “US-made HIMARS rocket system”.
A later TASS report also claimed that Ukrainian nationalists deliberately hit the detention facility to intimidate other prisoners and prevent them from testifying about war crimes.
And of course, Russia said it had opened its own criminal case into the strike. Again, this is how Russian propaganda works – what stands out is the reference to US-made HIMARS, high-precision weapons that have taken a devastating toll on Russian forces.
Ukraine’s General Staff said such claims by Russian propagandists were “outright false and provocative.”
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine issued a statement Facebook: “Russian occupiers have accused Ukraine of committing ‘war crimes’ in pursuit of their criminal goals, as well as covering up the torture and execution of prisoners they carried out on the orders and orders of the occupation administration there.” The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the temporarily occupied territory of Donetsk Oblast.