Russian forces are responsible for killing 53 Ukrainian prisoners of war in the recent explosion in Olenivka, Donetsk Oblast, U.S.-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said in its Aug. 1 report.
Satellite and other available imagery from the site clearly show that only one building at the penitentiary facility was damaged, with its walls remaining intact. Combined with the total absence of any impact craters nearby, this indicates that the explosion originated inside the structure, ISW assessed.
U.S. news website Politico earlier quoted a U.S. official saying that there is evidence that suggests Ukraine was not responsible for the attack.
Finally, after the United States said that U.S.-supplied HIMARS rocket artillery was not in use during the attack, ISW concluded that Russia bears responsibility for the atrocity.
Russian media claimed on July 29 that Ukraine shelled the penitentiary colony in Olenivka, where Ukrainian prisoners of war – including service members from the Azov Regiment – were being held. According to Moscow, the alleged attack was carried out with U.S.-supplies HIMARS rocket artillery.
At least 53 Ukrainians were killed in the explosion, according to the Kremlin. Ukrainian law enforcement estimates the casualties to be around 40 dead and 130 wounded.
Ukraine’s General Staff denied Ukrainian responsibility for the “attack,” suggesting instead that Russia staged a false flag operation in order to conceal torture and executions of prisoners of war at the facility.
Ukrainian military intelligence said that Russia’s Wagner private military company was behind the atrocity, acting on direct orders from its owner Yevgeny Prigozhin – a close ally of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
According to the report, the explosions occurred at a recently-erected building, two days after Ukrainian prisoners of war from Mariupol were transferred there.
Ukraine’s SBU security service published an intercept of a conversation between Russian military service members, which suggests Moscow’s forces were indeed behind the act of terror in Olenivka.