On August 4, Ukrainian Intelligence published more information on the circumstances of the deliberate killing of 53 Ukrainian prisoners of war, including members of the Azov regiment, in Olenivka village, Donetsk region.
On July 29, an explosion occurred inside the barracks where the Russian occupiers kept Ukrainian prisoners of war, inside the occupied village of Olenivka. As a result of the blast, about 53 soldiers were killed, and another 130 were injured.
While the Russians accused Ukraine of shelling the prison camp, the Ukrainian authorities have stated that they did not attack Olenivka and that the Russian occupiers organized the explosion. According to Ukraine’s Security Services, the Russians carried out what amounts to a terrorist attack by detonating explosives planted on the premises of the prison camp.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defence’s Central Directorate of Intelligence reported that the mass murder of Ukrainian prisoners of war was carried out by members of the Wagner private military company (Wagner PMC) which is widely thought to be financed and controlled by the Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is close to the Russian President, Vladimir Putin.
According to Ukrainian intelligence, representatives of the so-called DPR, Wagner PMC, and Federal Security Services of the Russian Federation (FSB) all took part in the interrogation of prisoners in Olenivka. Physical torture and beatings were commonly used during interrogations not to obtain confidential information but to bully, physically humiliate, and demoralize Ukrainian soldiers.
The Russian FSB representatives planned to force the psychologically weakened Ukrainian prisoners to take part in pro-Russian video reports. The purpose of these videos was to broadcast prisoners admitting to the “crimes committed by them, atrocities against the local population,” and to show them renouncing their views and condemning “…the actions of the leadership of Ukraine.”
Interrogations were conducted regularly but were unsuccessful. The Ukrainian prisoners showed exceptional courage and indomitable willpower.
Ukrainian Intelligence suggests that the Russian side never had any intention of exchanging prisoners of war and deliberately liquidated the prisoners to conceal the improper conditions and practices used in the interrogation of Ukrainian service members, which could serve as an evidence base at the Hague Court of Human Rights. According to the evidence available, the explosion was detonated in the colony by the PMC Wagner military command center fighters using a highly flammable substance, which led to the rapid spread of the fire through the premises.
The acting commander of the “Azov” regiment, Mykyta Nadtochiy, published an official statement regarding the mass killing of Ukrainian prisoners of war in the village of Olenivka.
“We consider the attack on Olenivka as an act of public execution that Russia has carried out with all impunity. Russians are used to the fact that no one will hold them accountable even for openly violating the laws, customs, and rules of warfare,” he stated.
According to Nadtochiy, the names and personal data of those involved in the killings of Ukrainian prisoners of war are currently being ascertained.
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