America says that Russia is trying to fabricate evidence in the death of prisoners of war

The US claims that Russia is working to build evidence related to last week’s deadly strike on a prisoner of war residence in a separatist region of eastern Ukraine.

A US official familiar with the intelligence investigation told the Associated Press that S intelligence officials have determined that Russia is trying to plant false evidence to reveal that Ukrainian forces were responsible for the July 29 attack on the Olenivka prison. , in which 53 people were killed and dozens were injured. on Wednesday.

Russia has claimed that Ukraine’s military used a US-supplied rocket launcher to attack the Olenivka prison, a settlement controlled by the Moscow-backed Donetsk People’s Republic.

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Russia and Ukraine accused each other of shelling a prison in a separatist region of eastern Ukraine, an attack that killed dozens of Ukrainian military prisoners who were captured after the fall of Mariupol (AP).

The Ukrainian military denied launching any rocket or artillery attacks on Olenivka.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s intelligence wing claimed in a statement on Wednesday that Kremlin-backed separatists worked with the Russian FSB, the KGB’s main successor agency, and mercenary group Wagner to mine the barracks “before using a flammable substance”. was in collusion. Due to which the fire spread rapidly in the room.”

The official, who was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the classified intelligence – which was recently downgraded – shows that Russian officials are middle-class high-ranking officials. Can also employ ammunition from the Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS). Systems provided by the US to Ukraine were used in the attack.

The official said action is expected from Russia as it expects independent investigators and journalists to eventually reach Olenivka.

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Investigators examine the bodies of Ukrainian military prisoners at the prison in Olenivka (AP)

Ukraine has effectively used HIMARS launchers, which fire medium-range rockets and can be moved quickly before Russia can target them with return fire, and demand for more launchers from the United States. doing.

Earlier on Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was appointing a fact-finding mission in response to requests from Russia and Ukraine to investigate the prison killings.

Mr Guterres told reporters that he does not have the authority to conduct criminal investigations, but he does have the authority to conduct fact-finding missions. He said the terms of reference for a mission to Ukraine are currently being worked out and will be sent to the governments of Ukraine and Russia for approval.

Ukrainian POWs in the Donetsk prison included soldiers captured during the fall of Mariupol.

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A soldier stands next to a prison wall in Olenivka (AP)

He spent months with citizens at the huge Azovstal steel mill in the southern port city. Their resistance during a relentless Russian bombardment became a symbol of Ukrainian defiance against Russia’s aggression.

More than 2,400 soldiers of the Azov Regiment of the Ukrainian National Guard and other military units abandoned their battles and surrendered under command of the Ukrainian Army in May.

Scores of Ukrainian soldiers have been taken to prisons in Russian-controlled areas. Some have returned to Ukraine as part of a prisoner exchange with Russia, but other families have no idea whether their loved ones are still alive or whether they will ever come home.