The United States said that Russia is trying to fabricate evidence of the death of prisoners of war

The US says Russia is working to fabricate evidence about last week’s deadly strike on a POW prison in the breakaway region of eastern Ukraine.

U.S. intelligence officials have determined Russia is trying to plant false evidence to create the impression that Ukrainian forces were responsible for the July 29 attack on Olenevskaya prison that killed 53 people and injured dozens, a U.S. official familiar with the findings told The Associated Press. intelligence. on Wednesday.

Russia said the Ukrainian military used US-supplied rocket launchers to attack a prison in Olenevka, a community controlled by the pro-Russian Donetsk People’s Republic.

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Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of shelling a prison in a separatist region in eastern Ukraine that killed dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war captured after the fall of Mariupol (AP)

The Ukrainian military has denied any missile or artillery strikes on Olenevka.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s intelligence arm said in a statement on Wednesday that it had evidence that the Kremlin-backed separatists colluded with the Russian FSB, the main successor to the KGB, and the Wagner mercenary group to mine the barracks before “using a flammable substance, which led to the rapid spread of fire in the room.

The official, who was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said classified intelligence, which was recently downgraded, shows Russian officials may even be planting munitions from Highly Mobile Medium-Range Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) as evidence . The attack used systems provided by the United States to Ukraine.

Russia is expected to take action as it expects independent investigators and journalists to eventually gain access to Olenevka, the official added.

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Investigators examine the bodies of Ukrainian prisoners of war in Olenevka prison (AP)

Ukraine has made good use of HIMARS launchers, which fire medium-range missiles and can be moved quickly before Russia can fire back, and is seeking additional launchers from the United States.

Earlier Wednesday, UN Secretary-General António 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 added that the terms of reference for the mission to Ukraine are currently being prepared, which will be sent for approval to the governments of Ukraine and Russia.

Among the Ukrainian prisoners of war in the Donetsk prison were servicemen captured during the fall of Mariupol.

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A soldier stands guard at the wall of the prison in Olenevka (AP)

They spent months hiding with civilians at the giant Azovstal steel plant in the southern port city. Their resistance during the relentless Russian bombardment has become a symbol of Ukraine’s defiance of Russian aggression.

In May, more than 2,400 soldiers of the Azov Regiment of the National Guard of Ukraine and other military units refused to fight and surrendered on the orders of the Ukrainian military.

Dozens of Ukrainian soldiers sent to prisons in Russian-controlled territories. Some returned to Ukraine as part of a prisoner exchange with Russia, but other families have no idea if their loved ones are alive or if they will ever return home.