Facebook Twitter

Dozens of Ukrainian POWs killed in prison shelling

Both sides cast blame, while concern grows for prisoners of war under Russian control

SHARE Dozens of Ukrainian POWs killed in prison shelling

Smoke rises from the Metallurgical Combine Azovstal in Mariupol during shelling, in Mariupol, in territory under the government of the Donetsk People’s Republic, eastern Ukraine, Saturday, May 7, 2022. Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine say that at least 40 Ukrainian prisoners of war captured during the fighting for Mariupol have been killed by Ukrainian shelling.

Alexei Alexandrov, Associated Press

Friday, a prison holding Ukrainian POWs was shelled inside the country, killing dozens with many more wounded. The prison is located in a frontline area of the Donetsk province held by separatists. The Associated Press reports that Russian and Ukrainian officials are trading blame, saying “the assault was premeditated with the aim of covering up atrocities.”

What is being said:

  • Mykhailo Podolyak, journalist and adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said this was “a deliberate, cynical, calculated mass murder of Ukrainian prisoners, which requires strict investigation.”
  • The Ukrainian government said the shelling was used to “hide the torture of prisoners and executions,” per Reuters.
  • Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba strongly urged the United Nations to “visit the site to establish all facts of this heinous crime.” He claimed the prisoners had been moved to one area before the attack, indicating it was premeditated.
  • The Russian state RIA Novosti agency reported that fragments of U.S.-supplied precision High Mobility Artillery Rocket System rockets were found at the site, and blamed Ukrainian forces for the shelling, according to The Associated Press.

Driving the news:

  • A horrific video has been circulating, capturing a Russian troop mutilating a Ukrainian POW. The contents of this video have not been verified, but increased concern surrounding the treatment of prisoners under Russia’s control.
  • In May, around 2,500 Ukrainians were captured after a monthlong siege of the Azovstal steel plant in Mauripol, according to NPR.

Currently, no version of events has been confirmed.