UN, ICRC must immediately deploy mission in Olenivka - joint statement by Ukraine officials

UN, ICRC must immediately deploy mission in Olenivka - joint statement by Ukraine officials

The Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Security Service of Ukraine, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense, and the Verkhovna Rada Commissioner for Human Rights, Dmytro Lubinets, demand that the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross respond to Russia's terrorist attack in Olenivka, Donetsk region.

That’s according to a joint statement released by the Ukrainian Ombudsman in relation to the mass murder of Ukrainian prisoners of war on July 29 in the village of Olenivka, Ukrinform reports.

"We demand that the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross, which acted as guarantors of the lives and health of Ukrainian prisoners of war, immediately respond to the terrorist act committed by the Russian Federation," the statement emphasizes.

Its authors demand that the inspection mission, consisting of the UN and ICRC officials, the Ukrainian Ombudsman, and representatives of the Joint Center for the Search and Release of Prisoners, be Donetsk region.

Read also: Ukraine Army to avenge every maimed, killed Ukrainian soldier - Commander-in-Chief

As recalled by the signatories, on the night of July 29, an explosion rocked the former correctional colony No. 210 in Olenivka, a settlement in the temporarily occupied territory of Donetsk region. As a result, the building in which Ukrainian prisoners of war had been held was destroyed. It is noted that, according to the Russian reports, more than 50 captured Ukrainian defenders were killed, while the number of wounded remains unclear.

According to the comments issued by the Russian side, not a single penitentiary administration staffer, “DPR” militant, or Russian soldier guarding the premises was injured by the blast. "Immediately after the explosion, Russia accused Ukraine of shelling a penal colony with American weapons and killing Ukrainian soldiers," the statement said.

According to the Ukrainian military and law enforcement, the explosion is a cynical terrorist act on the part of the Russian Federation, a military provocation, and a classic false flag operation, aimed to cover up war crimes, compromise the Armed Forces, disrupt the supply of Western weapons, and destabilize Ukraine.

At the same time, it is emphasized that the Ukrainian Army strikes target exclusively Russian military facilities: fuel, arms, and ammunition depots, command and control posts, and military infrastructure facilities.

It is noted that the Ukrainian Army has sufficient means to identify targets, including space reconnaissance systems, but Ukraine fired no missiles and artillery shells at Olenivka.

Also, the authors of the statement remind that the format of the Mariupol defenders’ evacuation from the territory of the Azovstal plant provided for a ceasefire and surrender of the Ukrainian military as prisoners of war, with their subsequent exchange under the guarantees of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Read also: About 40 Ukrainian prisoners killed, 130 injured in Russia’s shelling of Olenivka

It is noted that this format was chosen and approved by the Mariupol defenders, who took part in the negotiations. In particular, on June 29, the first of the scheduled swaps took place, as a result of which 144 Ukrainian servicemen returned to Ukraine, including 95 Azovstal defenders.

The key condition of the chosen format was for Russia to undertake commitment to international organizations regarding the preservation of the lives and health of Ukrainian defenders, military and law enforcement officials emphasized, and stated that this guarantee was cynically violated.

It is also stressed that multiple pieces of evidence testify to the pre-planned nature of the crime committed against Ukrainian POWs.

In particular, it is about the deliberate transfer of POWs to a new barrack shortly before the explosion occurred, the nature of the damage and the blast wave, invaders’ communications intercepts, the absence of shelling traces in the specified location, and other evidence.

"All this leaves no doubt: the explosion in Olenivka was a Russian terrorist act and a gross violation of international agreements," the authors of the statement are convinced.

According to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Russian military deliberately attacked the facility where Ukrainian POWs were held.

The General Staff decried the Kremlin's statements about the alleged shelling of civilian infrastructure and population by the Armed Forces of Ukraine as “blatant lies and provocation.”

According to Ukrainian intelligence, the Ukrainian POWs could have been killed by mercenaries with the Wagner (Liga) Private Military Company, integrated into the Russian invasion forces.

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