UN disbands Olenivka investigative mission

6 January, 05:06 AM
About 40 Ukrainian prisoners were killed in Russian terrorist attack in Olenivka (Photo:REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko)

About 40 Ukrainian prisoners were killed in Russian terrorist attack in Olenivka (Photo:REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko)

The UN has disbanded the mission that was supposed to investigate the apparent Russian terrorist attack on a prison facility in occupied Olenivka, Donetsk Oblast, where dozens of Ukrainian POWs were killed in July 2022, UN Press Secretary Stéphane Dujarric said during a briefing on Jan. 5.

Dujarric said that the decision to disband was made by UN Secretary General António Guterres as there were no conditions under which the mission could go to Olenivka.

He clarified that while there was a political agreement on this issue, “for such a complex, delicate and dangerous mission, clear security guarantees and guarantees of access were needed, and in our opinion, we didn't get them.”

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Dujarric also said that the UN was ready to reconvene the mission as soon as it received guarantees of safety for its inspectors. He didn’t specify whether the UN received the guarantees it sought from both Ukraine and Russia.

In September 2022, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said that 40 days after the murder of Ukrainian prisoners of war in Olenivka, Russia still hasn’t let international organizations examine the site.

On July 29, Ukraine’s General Stuff reported that the Russians had staged a strike at a POW camp in Olenivka, seeking to accuse Ukraine of committing war crimes, while also concealing evidence of torture and executions of prisoners.

Russian state media reported at least 53 Ukrainian POWs were killed during the attack, which they falsely blamed on Ukraine. According to Ukraine’s Prosecutor General's Office, about 40 people were killed and 130 injured in the attack.

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Andriy Kostin said that, according to international experts, thermobaric weapons were the cause of the explosion at the prison colony. Ukraine does not have access to such weapons.

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