Russia and Ukraine are blaming each other for an attack on Friday on a prison facility in Russian-occupied Donetsk that resulted in the deaths of dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war.
According to Russia’s defense ministry, the attack on the jail in the frontline town of Olenivka resulted in 40 dead detainees and 75 injured. A spokesperson for Russian-backed separatist troops said 53 people were killed. Both Russian entities claimed that Ukrainian soldiers had fired U.S.-made missiles at the facility.
However, Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, declared Russia had committed a “barbaric war crime.” About 40 people were reportedly killed and 130 injured, according to Kyiv.
Ukrainian defense troops asserted the Russians attacked the jail to disguise the truth that the inmates had been “tortured and murdered.”
Ukraine accused Russia of the attack as part of the “information war to accuse the Ukrainian armed forces of shelling civilian infrastructure and the population to cover up their own treacherous action.”
Neither of the two accounts of what happened could be verified.
The Russian defense ministry claimed, “A missile strike from the U.S.-made multiple launch rocket system (HIMARS) was carried out on a pre-trial detention center in the area of the settlement of Olenivka, where Ukrainian military prisoners of war, including fighters from the Azov battalion, are being held.”
Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, demanded a “strict investigation” into the incident and encouraged the UN and other international organizations to denounce it. He said that the Russians had moved several Ukrainian captives to the attacked barrack just a few days before the strike, indicating that it was pre-planned.
Podolyak described the Russian accusations as “a classic, cynical and elaborate false flag operation” meant to undermine the credibility of Ukrainian authorities.
The Dallas Express previously reported that Zelenskyy’s administration claims to have discovered more than 10,000 potential war crimes committed by Russia during its invasion and subsequent occupation of parts of Ukraine.
Russia has denied committing war crimes against civilians or targeting them, and it has charged Kyiv with orchestrating them to defame its military.