Estonian leader decries mass murder of captured Azov fighters in Olenivka

30 July, 04:26 PM
destroyed penal colony in Olenivka (Photo:REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

destroyed penal colony in Olenivka (Photo:REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

Russia's war crimes should not go unpunished, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said on Twitter on July 30 following reports of a massacre of Ukrainian prisoners of war in Russian- occupied Olenivka in Donetsk Oblast.

"Yet again we witness brutal and heinous crimes committed by Russia,” Kallas tweeted.

“The mass murder in Olenivka against Ukrainian prisoners of war replays the darkest chapters of history. There must be no impunity for war crimes, just like there can (be) no return to relations with war criminals.”

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The President of Estonia, Alar Karis, also said that the shelling of the colony in Olenivka was yet more proof that Moscow “does not care about human lives.”

"Strongly condemn the mass murder at Olenivka correctional facility,” Karis said on Twitter.

“This absolutely horrific shelling is beyond apprehension and another proof that Russia does not care about human lives or international law but continues with war crimes.”

Ukraine’s General Staff said that Russia had attacked the prison in Olenivka in order to accuse Ukraine of committing war crimes, while covering up the torture and executions of prisoners committed at the site on the orders of the occupation administration and the command of the Russian invasion forces in occupied parts of Donetsk Oblast.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Russia had committed a “petrifying war crime” and called for Russia to be declared a terrorist state.

Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate reported that the order to murder the Azov Regiment prisoners of war was given by the nominal owner of the said mercenary company, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is known as “Putin’s chef” because his companies used to organize banquets for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

According to Ukrainian intelligence, the explosions took place on the territory of the industrial zone in a recently constructed building that was supposed to be specially equipped for prisoners of war from Azovstal. Some of the captured defenders of Ukraine were transferred there just two days ago.

 Ukraine’s SBU security service published an intercepted conversation that it said confirms that it was the Russians who committed the mass murder in the colony in Olenivka. The SBU noted that, judging by video clips from social media, the windows in some buildings of the colony were completely intact — this may indicate that the epicenter of the explosion was inside the destroyed building.

According to a preliminary analysis of the video, marks on the walls may have been left behind by an "internal source" of the explosion.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on June 6 that more than 2,500 defenders of Mariupol from the Azovstal plant are in Russian captivity. According to the Ukrainian news website Ukrayinska Pravda, 2,449 defenders left the territory of Azovstal, and they were being held in Russian-occupied Olenivka.

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