Ukraine urges investigation into POW deaths after rocket attack

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The United Nations and the Red Cross must be authorized to investigate the deaths of Ukrainian prisoners of war (prisoners of war) in an attack on a camp in the Russian-occupied territory of Donetsk, Kiev has said.

More than 50 Ukrainian POWs were killed when rockets hit a prison in the frontline city of Olenivka on Friday.

Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky said Russia was responsible for the attack, which he said was a war crime.

Both sides blame each other for the strikes.

Russia claims the attack was carried out by Ukrainian forces using highly accurate US-made Himars artillery, which Kiev denies.

Ukraine said Russia carried out the attack to cover up evidence of war crimes.

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Moscow released images of what it said the camp was like after the attack took place.

The unverified video shows a destroyed building with damaged bunk beds and badly burned bodies.

The exact details of what happened in the camp, which is controlled by the Russian-backed separatists in the Donetsk People’s Republic, remain unclear.

Zelenksy joined his foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, in calling on the Red Cross and the United Nations to intervene and investigate.

The prisoners held in the facility — believed to have been captured during the defense of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol — should have been protected by guarantees from both organizations.

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“It was a deliberate Russian war crime, a deliberate mass murder of Ukrainian prisoners of war,” Zelensky said.

“Russia has proven with countless terrorist attacks that it is the single largest source of terrorism in the world today.”

The Red Cross said it had requested access to the prison so it can help evacuate and treat the 130 prisoners of war Ukraine said were injured in the attack.

Russia estimates the number of injured at 75 and the death toll at 40.

The Red Cross said in a statement: “Our priority right now is to ensure that the injured receive life-saving treatment and that the bodies of those who have lost their lives are treated with dignity.

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“We have requested access to determine the health and condition of all people present at the scene at the time of the attack. We are also contacting families and considering their requests and questions.

“All POWs, wherever they are held, are protected by international humanitarian law. They are no longer part of the battle and must not be attacked. The ICRC has been able to visit some POWs and other prisoners but has not done so. given access to visit them all.”

Ukraine’s new Attorney General Andriy Kostin said he ordered officials to open a war crimes investigation into the killings.