More than 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war were killed in a bombing that President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday called a “terrorist attack organized by Russian inhuman monsters”.
“This is further confirmation that Russia is a terrorist state,” the president wroteconfirming that “more than 50 captured Ukrainian defenders were cynically killed” at Olenivka.
The targeted prison, located in an area controlled by the Moscow-backed Donetsk People’s Republic, had housed nearly 200 soldiers captured in Mariupol, the scene of many of the war’s worst atrocities.
Images from Friday showed the smoldering remains of a burnt-out cavernous building – with charred bodies lying on metal beds and military stretchers.
“Russia committed another petrifying war crime by bombing a correctional facility in the occupied Olenivka region where it was holding Ukrainian prisoners of war,” the Ukrainian foreign minister said. Dmytro Kuleba tweeted.
“I call on all partners to strongly condemn this brutal violation of international humanitarian law and to recognize Russia as a terrorist state.”
An adviser to Zelensky denounced the bombing as “a deliberate, cynical and calculated mass murder of Ukrainian prisoners”.
Separatists who controlled the group confirmed that at least 53 people had been killed and at least 75 injured.
However, he blamed Kyiv, as did Russia, whose Defense Ministry called it a “blatant provocation” aimed at preventing soldiers from surrendering and exposing Ukraine’s own military crimes.
Russian state media also claimed there were fragments of the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) rockets that the United States gave to Ukraine.
“Ukraine’s political leadership has decided to use American producer HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems to carry out a strike here to cover up the crimes that Ukrainian captives have started to talk about,” the spokesperson said. of the separatists, Eduard Basturin, to the local media.
Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak called the claims “classic, cynical and elaborate false flag operationby the Kremlin.
“The goal – to discredit in front of our partners and disrupt the supply of weapons,” he said of the “deliberate, cynical and calculated mass murder of Ukrainian prisoners.”
Ukrainian military leaders shared a similar message in a shared statement later Friday.
“The explosion committed is a cynical terrorist act by the Russian Federation, a military provocation and a classic false flag operation, the purpose of which is to cover up war crimes, discredit the Ukrainian armed forces, disrupt the supply in Western arms and to increase social tension in Ukrainian society,” they said.
Ukrainian officials claimed that the fearsome Russian mercenary Wagner Group had led the assault.
The same day, British intelligence noted how the private military company had been exceptionally active on the front lines, acting like regular troops rather than their usual job on special missions.
‘This is a significant change from the band’s previous employment since 2015,’ the UK report noted, saying it confirmed Wagner’s close ties to the Kremlin and also appeared to prove Russia was suffering. of a “shortage of combat infantry” during his invasion.
With post wires