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Ukraine identified most soldiers killed in Russian prison camp in Olenivka – Ukraine's Human Rights Commissioner

Friday, 7 July 2023, 20:26
Ukraine identified most soldiers killed in Russian prison camp in Olenivka – Ukraine's Human Rights Commissioner

Dmytro Lubinets, Ukrainian Parliamentary Commissioner for Human Rights, has said that the identification of Ukrainian prisoners of war who died in the occupiers' terrorist attack on Olenivka a year ago and whose bodies were brought back to Ukraine, is still ongoing.

Source: Dmytro Lubinets on Telegram; UkrinformDetector Media

Quote from Lubinets: "Ukraine was able to bring back the bodies of Ukrainian defenders. Most of them have been identified…

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DNA analysis is currently underway. Relevant [government] agencies have informed the relatives [of the soldiers who had been killed]."

Update: Initially, the news reported that Ukraine has now managed to bing back the bodies of the captured defenders killed in the Russian terrorist attack on Olenivka.

However, Oleksandra Mazur, representative of the Olenivka Family Community, told Detector Media that Ukraine brought back the bodies of those killed in Olenivka back in October last year, and that journalists misunderstood Lubinets at the briefing after the Legion of Law human rights forum on 7 July.

Details: Lubinets added that Ukrainian soldiers killed in Olenivka were officially registered as prisoners of war, verified by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Human Rights Commissioner also said that he spoke with the Russian Human Rights Commissioner, Tatiana Moskalkova, after the Russian attack on Olenivka and asked her to allow international experts to visit Olenivka.

At first, the Russian side agreed to this, but it later transpired that the Russians were urgently tidying the barracks where the Ukrainian prisoners were held and which Russian forces attacked, and are otherwise sorting things out and undertaking "repair works".

Ultimately no experts, international or from Ukraine, have been allowed to access Olenivka.

The UN mission has refused to consider evidence regarding the explosion in the prison camp gathered by Ukraine: "The mission has been terminated before I managed to meet with anyone. I think this was because of the lack of willingness on their behalf to really do anything."

Lubinets said that over the course of the UN mission's existence, five months, he made many attempts to meet its participants in person or online.

He said he was prepared to travel to New York to hand over the evidence obtained by the Ukrainian side – forensic analysis of photo and video evidence shared by the Russians – to the UN officials. "We believe and the experts, not only Ukrainian experts, involved in this believe that a high-temperature explosive device had been planted in the barracks," Lubinets explained.

However, the mission was terminated: "Spokesman for [UN Secretary General António] Guterres announced this at a press conference. When journalists asked whether the decision to terminate the mission was made because the Russian Federation had denied mission participants access to Olenivka, he said [the UN] would not offer comments on this."

Background:

  • On the morning of 29 July 2022, Russian-aligned propaganda media reported that a prison camp in Olenivka, Donetsk Oblast, where Ukrainian prisoners were held, was attacked. They claimed that at least 53 prisoners were killed in the attack.
  • Ukraine's Defence Intelligence believes that the killing of Ukrainian prisoners in Olenivka was organised by the Wagner Group on the personal instructions of Yevgeny Prigozhin, without coordination with the leadership of the Russian Ministry of Defence.
  • In October 2022, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that it was not able to reach Ukrainian prisoners illegally held by the Russian Federation, and that it "share[d] Ukraine's frustration".
  • On 29 January 2023, the Office of the President of Ukraine said that the ICRC had failed to send a delegation to Olenivka in the six months since the attack on the prison camp.

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