Russia says Ukraine hit prison with US HIMARS rockets killing 40 Ukrainian POWs

Russia claimed Friday that Ukraine killed 40 of its own prisoners in a US rocket attack. Russia said Ukraine had targeted a prison in separatist territory with an American-made HIMARS rocket. According to a Reuters report, more than 40 Ukrainian prisoners of war were killed and 75 were injured during this period. Ukraine has denied these allegations. These prisoners were arrested in May after the Russian occupation of Mariupol.

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The AP news agency said in its report that 53 Ukrainian prisoners of war taken hostage during the war of occupation of Mariupol were killed in the bombardment of Ukraine. Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine have made this claim. The report said rockets were fired from Ukraine at a prison in the town of Olenivka in the Russian-controlled region of Donetsk, injuring 75 Ukrainian POWs. In a video posted by Andrei Rudenko, a Russian media war correspondent, Russian-backed servicemen can be seen walking through the charred remains of the prison. The broken roof of the building is hanging down.

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Russia said Ukraine used US-supplied HIMARS multiple rocket launchers in the attack on Olenivka prison in the Russian-held Donetsk region. Russian officials and separatist officials in Donetsk said 53 Ukrainian POWs were killed and 75 injured in the attack.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Igor Konashenkov called the attack a “bloody provocation” aimed at discouraging Ukrainian troops from surrendering. He said eight prison guards were also injured in the shelling. The Ukrainian military denied any rocket or cannon attack on Olenivka and insisted it was not bombing civilian areas and only targeting Russian military bases.

The Ukrainian military alleges that Russia deliberately bombed the prison to accuse Ukraine of war crimes and cover up torture and the death penalty. The Ukrainian military statement condemned the Russian claims as part of an “information war aimed at blaming the Ukrainian military”. However, none of the claims could be independently verified.

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