Russian invading forces may hold a show trial ofUkrainian prisoners of war in Mariupol on Ukrainian Independence Day on Aug. 24, Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko said during a briefing on Aug 11.
He said Russia was considering several dates for holding a fake trial, for which cages are already being prepared, but Aug. 24 is the most symbolic date.
“Our Philharmonic, which was exclusively used for cultural events, is being turned into a place for the so-called ‘judicial trial’ of our prisoners of war,” said Boychenko.
“Unfortunately, there are a lot of people in many prisons that were created around our heroic city of Mariupol. I would like to note that more than 10,000 people are in these prisons today, including a lot of soldiers."
He said the Russians wanted to create a sort of "victory" for their domestic propaganda consumers, as they have had no actual victories on the battlefield recently.
Earlier, video circulating on social media showed Russian invasion forces assembling defendants’ cages on the stage of the Mariupol Philharmonic in order to arrange a show trial of Ukrainian prisoners of war.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported on July 29 that Russia had caused an explosion at a prison colony in the occupied Donetsk town of Olenivka in order to accuse Ukraine of committing “war crimes,” as well as to hide evidence of the torture and execution of prisoners carried out on the orders of the occupation administration and command in the temporarily occupied territory of Donetsk Oblast.
Russian invading forces used the prison colony in Olenivka to hold, among others, the defenders of Mariupol, including fighters from the Azov Regiment. The UN and the Red Cross were to have guaranteed their safety.
Russian propaganda media claimed that at least 53 Ukrainian soldiers were killed. The next day, the Russian Defense Ministry published a list of 42 dead, while Ukraine said that they had not yet received this data.
About 40 people were killed and 130 injured in the Russian attack, according to the Office of the Attorney General of Ukraine.