Ukrainian intelligence reports that this week in the Donetsk region, Ukrainian prisoners of war were obliterated by Russian bombs. The detention center was the site of a targeted attack by The Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary organization infamous for international mercenary killings and neo-nazi ideology. The shelling left 40 Ukrainian POWs dead and 130 more injured.
The Chief Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense reported the following:
“On July 28, a powerful explosion took place in the territory of former penal colony No. 120 in the town of Olenivka in the temporarily occupied territory of Donetsk region which is currently used as a place of detention of Ukrainian prisoners of war. The explosion destroyed the premises where the captured Ukrainians were held. According to Russian sources, about 40 Ukrainians were killed, the number of the injured is being specified.”
The Chief Directorate of Intelligence added, “The explosions in Olenivka, which killed Ukrainian defenders, are a deliberate provocation and an undeniable act of terrorism committed by the occupier’s armed forces.”
Dmitry Utkin, leader of the Wagner Group, showing his nazi tattoos.
According to Ukraine intelligence, these POWs were in fact the Ukrainians who held out in the Azovstal Steelworks factory for weeks, before it was finally captured by Russian forces on May 17. Following the siege, over 200 Ukrainians defenders were taken from the plant through a humanitarian corridor to Olenivka where they met their tragic fate. Intelligence believes the Wagner Group targeted these POWs specifically, after they became a symbol of bravery for Ukrainians everywhere.
“Given the great public interest in the fate of the Azovstal heroes, the masterminds of the terrorist attack believed that the death of the defenders should ramp up social tensions in Ukraine,” the Chief Directorate of Intelligence stressed.
This is not the first or only instance of Russian forces murdering Ukrainian POWs. With continued and unrelenting brutality, Russian soldiers have tortured and killed prisoners, a classified crime against humanity. Ukraine has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to document Russia’s war crimes.
“It is pointed out that willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health of Ukrainian prisoners of war are grave breaches of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War and are war crimes under the Criminal Code of Ukraine and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Under the Rome Statute such actions can also be qualified as crimes against humanity,” stated Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.