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Explosion in Olenivka prison, which killed at least 50 Ukrainian POWs caused by thermobaric grenade launcher fire – Prosecutor General’s Office

Olenivka Donetsk POWs Ukrainian
Screenshot from a video shared by Russian propagandists shows the aftermath of the Russian attack on Olenivka prison
Explosion in Olenivka prison, which killed at least 50 Ukrainian POWs caused by thermobaric grenade launcher fire – Prosecutor General’s Office

On the night of 29 July 2022, Russian troops used a thermobaric grenade launcher to fire at the Olenivka prison in Donetsk Oblast. At least 50 Ukrainian POWs were killed in the attack, says Ukraine’s Prosecutor General’s Office, as per UkrInform.

Currently, the Security Service of Ukraine is conducting an investigation into the violation of customs and laws of war by Russian soldiers in Olenivka.

Following the forensic analysis, Ukraine has identified 33 Ukrainian POWs killed in the prison. At the moment, experts are continuing to identify 24 bodies of those who might have been killed in the penal facility.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian NGO Media Initiative for Human Rights has released the results of its own investigation into the execution of POWs in Donetsk Oblast.

According to Tetiana Katrychenko and Maria Klymyk, who conducted the analysis, the organization interviewed witnesses of the mass execution of prisoners on the night of 28-29 July, 2022, to reconstruct the events. At the time when explosions started, the witnesses were inside the facility.

“The first explosion occurred outside the colony. Not everyone heard it. Around 11 pm – 00 am another blast happened but inside the barrack. A military witness whom we interviewed had visited the barracks on July 29 to identify the bodies. He said that everyone in one section was dead. In the area where a booth was located, people sustained severe injuries but managed to survive. In another section, individuals suffered shrapnel wounds,” says the author of the investigation.

Wounded POWs didn’t receive any medical assistance after the blast, Klymyk adds. Many victims of the Russian fire died outside the barrack due to blood loss. “No medics were present in the prison, as they were not allowed to enter.” Some prisoners tried to run outside to survive, some crawled covered in blood, and some died later during a 6-hour-long evacuation, the Ukrainian soldiers recalled, according to Suspilne.

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