The Association of the Families of the Defenders of the Azovstal Steelworks on Aug. 8 called on the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations to prevent show trials of the Ukrainian defenders of Mariupol being staged by Russia.
In a statement posted on Telegram messenger, the families said that the trials of the soldiers would “contradict generally accepted international laws on the treatment of prisoners of war.”
“An ‘international’ trial is impossible in a ‘republic’ recognized as a state only by such sham states as South Abkhazia and Ossetia,” the statement says.
“A propaganda show is being prepared, and no matter where it is – in Donetsk or Mariupol, it won’t be recognized by anyone in the world. Military servicemen of Ukraine, who performed duties defined by the state and the law on the territory of Ukraine, cannot be convicted by other states, especially by sham states not recognized by anyone. Such a ‘tribunal’ won’t have any force in the legal field of Ukraine.”
The families of the defenders are also urging Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to help in this issue.
Mariupol City Council said on Aug. 6. that Russian occupation authorities were erecting holding cells on the stage of Mariupol’s Philharmonic concert hall to stage show trials for the Ukrainian defenders of Mariupol.
“Russian occupiers are building holding cells on the stage of Mariupol Philharmonic,” city mayor Vadym Boychenko said.
“The diameter of the armature is 20 mm. This sham ‘trial’ of Ukrainian defenders is slated for September.”
Ukraine’s General Staff said on July 29 that the Russian Federation organized an explosion at the prison colony in Olenivka in order to accuse Ukraine of committing war crimes, as well as to cover up the torture and executions of prisoners, which it said were carried out on the orders of the occupation administration and commanders in Russian-occupied Donetsk Oblast.
Along with other prisoners of war, the invaders held defenders of Mariupol in the prison colony – among whom were soldiers of the Azov Regiment. The UN and the Red Cross had previously agreed to guarantee their safety.
Russian propaganda media claimed that at least 53 Ukrainian prisoners of war had been killed. The next day, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation published a list with the names of 42 dead Ukrainian prisoners. Ukrainian officials state that they have not yet been provided with this data.
According to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office, about 40 people died and 130 were injured as a result of the explosion at the prison camp.