The explosions in Olenivka that killed Ukrainian soldiers from the Azov Regiment were caused by mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner mercenary company, Ukrainian intelligence claimed on July 29.
Ukrainian intelligence said the order to blow up the members of Azov 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.
"The organization and execution of the terrorist attack weren’t coordinated with the administration of the Russian Ministry of Defense," added Ukrainian intelligence in a press release.
Ukrainian intelligence also said that the main goal of the attack was to conceal evidence of the theft of funds allocated to maintain the camps for Ukrainian prisoners of war. A commission from Moscow was expected to arrive at the facility to check the expenditures of the allocated funds and the conditions of prisoners on Aug. 1.
Mercenaries from Prigozhin’s Wagner private military company have fought in Donbas, Syria and Africa.
The office of the Prosecutor General opened a criminal case on the violation of the laws and customs of war (part 2 of article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine) in the suspected massacre of Ukrainian prisoners of war by the Russians in Olenivka.
According to investigator, as a result of the incident, about 40 people were killed, and 130 were injured.
The Azov Regiment’s patronage service reported that they are establishing the names of the dead and injured in Olenivka, and that the International Committee of the Red Cross is on its way to the scene.
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 invading forces in occupied parts of Donetsk Oblast.
The adviser to the head of the Presidential Office, Mykhailo Podolyak, said Ukraine demands a response from the United Nations and international organizations to “the Russian war crime.”
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, they were being held in Russian-occupied Olenivka.