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Joint Statement on the Mass Murder of Ukrainian Prisoners of War on July 29, 2022 in the Village of Olenivka in the Temporarily Occupied Territory of Donetsk Region

July 29, 2022

The Armed Forces of Ukraine
The Security Service of Ukraine
Defence Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine
The Human Rights Commissioner of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine

On the night of July 29, on the territory of former penal colony No. 210, in Olenivka, in the temporarily occupied territory of Donetsk region, an explosion occurred, destroying the building in which Ukrainian prisoners of war were kept. According to the Russians, more than 50 Ukrainian defenders were killed, the number of wounded is unknown. According to the comments of the Russian side, not a single employee of the colony, "DPR" fighter or Russian military man who was guarding the premises was injured in the explosion. Immediately after the explosion, Russia accused Ukraine of shelling the penal colony with U.S. weapons and killing Ukrainian soldiers. In this regard, we declare the following:

1. The committed explosion is a cynical terrorist act of the Russian Federation, a military provocation and a typical false flag operation, the purpose of which is to cover up war crimes, discredit the Armed Forces of Ukraine, disrupt the supply of Western weapons and increase social tension in Ukrainian society.

2. The Armed Forces of Ukraine attack only Russian military facilities: warehouses with fuel, weapons and ammunition, command posts, and military infrastructure facilities. The Ukrainian army has enough means to identify targets, including space reconnaissance systems. Ukraine did not fire rockets and artillery at the village of Olenivka.

3. On May 16, with the mediation of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross, the process of evacuating the defenders of Mariupol from the territory of the Azovstal plant, which was surrounded and was under attack by Russian troops for a long time, began. The format of the evacuation provided for the establishment of a ceasefire and the surrender of the Ukrainian military as prisoners, with subsequent swap under the guarantees of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross. This format was chosen and approved by the defenders of Mariupol, who participated in the negotiations. On June 29, the first of the planned swap of prisoners of war took place, returning 144 defenders to Ukraine. Among them are 95 Azovstal defenders.

4. The key condition of the chosen format was the obligations of the Russian side to international organizations regarding the preservation of the life and health of Ukrainian defenders. This guarantee was cynically violated.

5. On the night of July 29, on the territory of the former penal colony of the village of Olenivka the organized killing of Ukrainian prisoners of war took place. Many documented evidences prove the planned nature of this crime and its commission by the Russian side: in particular, the deliberate transfer of fighters to a new premises shortly before the explosion, analysis of the nature of the damage and the movement of the blast wave, interception of the militants' telephone conversations, the absence of shelling in the specified place, and others. All this leaves no doubt: the explosion in Olenivka was a Russian terrorist act and a gross violation of international agreements.

Considering the above,

WE DEMAND:

1. From the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross, which acted as guarantors of the life and health of Ukrainian prisoners of war, to immediately respond to the terrorist act committed by the Russian Federation.

2. Immediately send representatives of the United Nations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Human Rights Commissioner of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, and representatives of the Joint Center for Search and Release of Prisoners to the territory of the colony in the village of Olenivka in the temporarily occupied territory of Donetsk region with the purpose of an inspection mission.