Russia, Ukraine blame trade for PoW prison shelling
Russia and Ukraine on Friday accused each other of shelling a prison in the breakaway eastern region, which is believed to have killed dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war who were captured after the fall of Mariupol on Friday. may.
Russia says that Ukraine used multiple US-supplied HIMARS missile launchers in the attack on the prison in Olenivka, in the Russian-controlled Donetsk region. Officials from Russia and the separatist authorities in Donetsk said the attack killed 53 Ukrainian PoW soldiers and wounded 75.
Spokesman of the Russian Ministry of Defense, Lieutenant General. Igor Konashenkov described the attack as a “bloody provocation” aimed at preventing Ukrainian troops from surrendering. He said that eight guards were also injured by the shelling.
The Ukrainian military denies any missile or artillery attack on Olenivka, insisting that it did not shell civilian areas and only hit Russian military targets.
Ukraine declares cover-up
It accused Russian forces of deliberately shelling the prison in Olenivka to accuse Ukraine of war crimes and also to cover up torture and executions there.
The statement dismissed Russia’s claims as part of an “information war that accuses the Ukrainian armed forces of shelling civilian infrastructure and civilians to cover up their act of treachery.”
None of these claims can be independently verified.
Denis Pushilin, the leader of the Moscow-backed separatists, said the prison holds 193 prisoners. He did not specify how many of them are Ukrainian PoW.
Ukrainian authorities in the Donetsk region say Russia has exerted pressure by shelling civilian targets in Ukrainian-held areas.
“Fighting in the area is intensifying and civilians have to be evacuated while it is still possible,” said Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko. “The Russian military is not worried about civilian casualties. They are attacking cities and villages in the region.”
Ukrainian troops in Mariupol have been taken prisoner after fierce fighting over the Ukrainian seaport of Azov, where they were held at the massive Azovstal steel mill. Their resistance has become a symbol of the Ukrainian struggle against Russian aggression that began on 24 February.
The Azov Regiment and other Ukrainian units guarded the steel mill for almost three months, clinging to its labyrinth of underground tunnels. More than 2,400 people surrendered in May under relentless Russian attacks from the ground, sea and air.
Many Ukrainian soldiers have been sent to prisons in Russian-controlled regions such as the Donetsk region, a breakaway region in eastern Ukraine run by the Russian-backed separatist government. Some have returned to Ukraine as part of a prisoner exchange with Russia, but the families of others do not know if their loved ones are still alive or when they will return home.
More shelling in Kharkiv
In a separate development, Ukrainian officials said Russian forces had shelled the country’s second-largest city, Kharkiv.
Mayor Ihor Terekhov said a central part of the northeastern city had been affected, including a two-story building and a higher education facility. Terekhov said the strike happened shortly after 4 a.m. on Friday.
“The state emergency service is working – they are sorting through the wreckage, looking for people under it,” Terekhov said in an update on Telegram.
At least 13 civilians were killed and 36 others injured in Russian shelling in the past 24 hours, the office of the President of Ukraine said.
In the southern city of Mykolaiv, at least four people were killed and seven others injured when Russian troops shelled a bus stop.
Mykolaiv Governor Vitaliy Kim said: “The Russians changed their tactics because of the successes of Ukrainian forces in the south … they fired near a bus stop.
Officials said the Russian dam also hit a humanitarian aid distribution facility, where three people were injured.
Ukrainian officials also said at least four civilians were killed and five others wounded in the town of Bakhmut, east of Donetsk, which was the focus of Russia’s offensive in Donbas. More than 30 residential buildings and a kindergarten were damaged.
Ukraine prepares to ship grain back
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday visited the Black Sea port of Chornomorsk, accompanied by his infrastructure minister and a group of G7 diplomats, including ambassadors to Ukraine from the US, Germany, the UK and Canada.
Standing near a Turkish ship waiting to depart, Zelenskyy said his country was ready to resume grain shipments for the first time in five months, under an export deal Ukraine reached with Russia several years ago. here a week.
“We have sent all the signals to our partners – the UN and Turkey, and our military ensures the security situation. The infrastructure minister is in direct contact with Turkey. Turkey and the UN. We are waiting for them to make a decision.”
Once that happens, Zelenskyy said, he believes the first shipments could start today or Saturday.