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List of dead in Olenivka partially confirmed – former Azov Regiment Commander

Wednesday, 3 August 2022, 00:31
List of dead in Olenivka partially confirmed – former Azov Regiment Commander

Olha Hlushchenko  —  Wednesday, 3 August 2022, 00:31

The former commander of the Azov Regiment, Maksym Zhorin, has said that the identities of some of those killed in the explosion in the prison camp located in occupied Olenivka, Donetsk Oblast, have been confirmed.

Source: Maksym Zhorin, quoted by Suspilne


Quote: "There are partial lists that have been shared with the public. They have been partially confirmed at the moment. Although we can also certainly say that they are not complete.

Unfortunately, we do not currently have clear lists of casualties.

It has been extremely hard for relatives and friends who are waiting [for their loved ones] to return home. They are in a state of limbo right now. But Russia is not providing any official lists."

Details: Zhorin also said that he was one of the first to learn about the tragedy. He also received confirmation that some of the military personnel had been transferred to another building, which subsequently exploded. Zhorin believes that this confirms that the explosion was a premeditated killing.

"Given the testimonies originating in Olenivka, we know for sure that everyone who was in that facility had been transferred there just before. That is, specifically for this purpose.

Most likely, this facility was blown up by a device prepared in advance. It wasn't an ‘incoming’ strike for sure. Even aerial photographs clearly show that there are no traces of strikes and/or artillery attack on the territory. Judging by the patterns of the destruction, it is clear that the facility has been blown up from within," said Zhorin.

Zhorin believes that the UN and the ICRC, as guarantors of the health and lives of military personnel who have been transferred from Azovstal and detained in Olenivka later, must find an opportunity to talk to the witnesses of the tragedy as soon as possible.

"I clearly remember how during the transfer from Azovstal, both the Red Cross and the UN expressed their readiness to take responsibility, to monitor the detention conditions.

However, throughout all this time the Red Cross was in Olenivka only once: on the first day when they [Ukrainian military personnel and citizens - ed.] left Azovstal.

We, as a country, have to literally force the international organisations whose responsibility it is to deal with this situation, namely the UN and the Red Cross, to press for and demand that Russia provides access to the scene of the crime. 

And more importantly, not only should [they] get to the crime scene, but also [they] should get the opportunity to talk to the witnesses who were in this facility and who survived," he added.

Background: After the Russians killed Ukrainian prisoners of war in Olenivka, the Armed Forces, the Ministry of Defence, the Security Service and the Ombudsman of Ukraine demanded that the UN and the ICRC – which acted as guarantors of the lives and health of Ukrainian fighters – send their representatives to the Russian prison camp where the crime took place.

In addition, Dmytro Liubinets, Human Rights Commissioner in Verkhovna Rada [Ukrainian Parliament - ed.], requested that the International Committee of the Red Cross organise his visit to the prison camp in Olenivka that was destroyed by Russian forces on 29 July. He wants to inspect the bodies of the soldiers who were killed and speak to those who were injured.

The Russian Ministry of Defence claimed that it had invited experts representing the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross to the prison camp which is the site of the deaths of Ukrainian prisoners of war in Olenivka.

More Background:

  • On the morning of 29 July, Russian-aligned propaganda media reported the shelling of a prison camp in Olenivka, Donetsk Oblast, reporting that at least 53 PoWs were killed. 
  • The Ukrainian General Staff denied Russian accusations that the strike was carried out by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. According to the General Staff, the Russians were trying to cover up the torture and murders of prisoners of war.
  • The Ukrainian Chief Directorate of Intelligence believes that the killing of Ukrainian prisoners in Olenivka, Donetsk Oblast, was organised by the Wagner Group [a Russian private military company] on the personal instructions of Yevgeny Prigozhin, without coordination with the leadership of the Russian Ministry of Defence.
  • The Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) later disclosed intercepted telephone conversations in which Russian occupiers confirm that Russian troops were responsible for the explosion in the prison camp in Russian-occupied Olenivka, which killed at least 53 Ukrainian PoWs.

Units of the Azov Regiment announced a hunt for all those involved in the mass murder of Ukrainian PoWs in Olenivka on 29 July.

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