EU foreign policy chief Borrell reacts to killing of Azov POWs in Olenivka

30 July, 12:16 PM
Josep Borrell (Photo:John Thys / Pool via REUTERS / File Photo)

Josep Borrell (Photo:John Thys / Pool via REUTERS / File Photo)

The European Union’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell called the killing of captive Azov fighters on the territory of a former prison colony in Russian-occupied Olenivka a “horrific atrocity,” according to the statement released by the Diplomatic Service of the European Union on July 29.

 “Today in Olenivka, in eastern Ukraine, Russia is reported to have killed dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war, including defenders of Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant, who surrendered to Russia, were registered by the ICRC in May and were in Russia’s legal protection under international humanitarian law," Borrell said.

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The official added that on July 29, pro-Kremlin social media users shared “appalling video footage” of Russian soldiers “committing a heinous atrocity” against a Ukrainian prisoner of war.

“The European Union condemns in the strongest possible terms the atrocities committed by the Russian armed forces and their proxies,” Borrell said.

“These inhumane, barbaric acts represent severe breaches of the Geneva conventions and their Additional Protocol and amount to war crimes.”

He said that all those involved in war crimes and other serious violations, as well as responsible officials and military personnel, would be held accountable for their actions.

“The European Union actively supports all measures to ensure accountability for human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law committed during the Russian aggression in Ukraine,” Borrell said.

A video clip of Russian soldiers brutally torturing a Ukrainian prisoner by cutting off his genitals with a box cutter appeared on the Internet on July 28. Then, on the morning of July 29, there were reports of an explosion and fire at a prison in the Russian-occupied town Olenivka in Donetsk Oblast – where the captured fighters of the Azov Regiment among other prisoners were kept.

Later reports said up to 53 prisoners had been killed in the incident.

Ukraine has called for a full international investigation into the circumstance of the killing of the Ukrainian prisoners of war.

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