Sunday July 31, 2022

Russia invites UN, Red Cross experts to probe Ukraine jail deaths

Russia invites UN, Red Cross experts to probe Ukraine jail deaths

This photo shows a view of the Olenivka detention centre in Eastern Donetsk province. AP

Russia on Sunday invited United Nations and Red Cross experts to probe the deaths of dozens of Ukrainian prisoners held by Moscow-backed separatists.

Ukraine and Russia have traded accusations over a missile strike or explosion early on Friday that appeared to have killed dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war in the front-line town of Olenivka in eastern Donetsk.


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Russia invited experts from the UN and Red Cross to probe the deaths "in the interests of conducting an objective investigation", the defence ministry said on Sunday.

The ministry had published a list of 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war killed and 73 wounded in what it said was a Ukrainian military strike with a US-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).

Russia invites UN, Red Cross experts to probe Ukraine jail deaths
A view shows a market destroyed by a Russian missile strike in Bakhmut, Donetsk, Ukraine, on Saturday. Reuters

Ukraine's armed forces denied responsibility, saying Russian artillery had targeted the prison to hide mistreatment there. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Friday Russia had committed a war crime and called for international condemnation.

Reuters journalists confirmed some of the deaths at the prison, but could not immediately verify the differing versions of events.

The UN had said it was prepared to send experts to investigate if it obtained consent from both parties. The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was seeking access and had offered to help evacuate the wounded.

Ukraine has accused Russia of atrocities against civilians and identified more than 10,000 possible war crimes. Russia denies targeting civilians and war crimes in the invasion it calls a "special operation".

Russia invites UN, Red Cross experts to probe Ukraine jail deaths
Emergency workers clear rubble at the side of the damaged Mariupol theatre building in Mariupol. File/AP

Ukraine's military said on Saturday more than 100 Russian soldiers had been killed and seven tanks destroyed in the south on Friday, including the Kherson region that is the focus of Kyiv's counteroffensive in that part of the country and a key link in Moscow's supply lines.

Rail traffic to Kherson over the Dnipro River had been cut, the military's southern command said, potentially further isolating Russian forces west of the river from supplies in occupied Crimea and the east.

South of the town of Bakhmut, which Russia has cited as a prime target in Donetsk, the Ukrainian military said Russian forces had been "partially successful" in establishing control over the settlement of Semyhirya by storming it from three directions.

Reuters

 

 

 

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