AGENCY – Russia has invited experts from the United Nations and the Red Cross to participate in the investigation into the Ukrainian military attack on a pre-trial detention centre near Olenivka in the Donbas region with HIMARS rocket systems which killed 53 Ukrainian prisoners of war, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Sunday.
“In order to conduct an objective investigation of the attack on the pre-trial detention centre in Yelenovka, which led to the death of a large number of Ukrainian prisoners of war, the Russian Federation has officially invited experts from the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross,” Sputnik reported citing the Russian defence ministry.
The Olenivka detention centre, hosting Ukrainian prisoners of war, was shelled by Ukrainian troops with US-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) on Friday morning.
“40 Ukrainian prisoners of war were killed and 75 wounded. In addition, eight employees of the pre-trial detention centre received injuries of different severity,” Sputnik reported citing the ministry on Friday. According to an update from the DPR territorial defence, the death toll from the strike has reached 53, and the number of wounded has surpassed 130.
The ministry called the Ukrainian attack a “flagrant provocation” aimed at intimidating Ukrainian soldiers who think about surrendering. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) offered its support in the evacuation of the wounded on Friday. UN spokesman Farhan Haq said on Saturday that the United Nations was ready to conduct an investigation into the Olenivka shelling.
DPR head Denis Pushilin said on Friday that the shelling of the detention facility was premeditated and launched because the militants imprisoned there, particularly those from the nationalist Azov battalion, had started to give testimonies implicating the Kyiv regime.
Recently, Ukraine shelled an important bridge in Kherson, closing it to traffic, and Ukraine President Zelenskyy promised to rebuild Antonivskyi bridge in the Russian-occupied Kherson region after it was struck by Ukrainian forces with what a Moscow-appointed local administrator said were US-supplied high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS).
The Antonivskyi bridge is the city of Kherson’s sole span across the river and Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-appointed city administration, told Russia’s RIA news agency it had been closed to traffic after the attack.
The Ukrainian army, emboldened by deliveries of Western-supplied long-range artillery has been clawing back territory in the southern Kherson region in recent weeks just a day after Ukraine and Russia agreed on a grain deal.
At least two missiles hit the infrastructure of the port and two were shot down by Ukraine’s air defence. This attack came one day after Ukraine and Russian ministers signed an agreement, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in Istanbul, to allow grain exports from Ukrainian Black Sea ports aimed at easing the global food crisis sparked by the war.
On February 24, Russia began a special military operation in Ukraine after the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics requested help in defending themselves. The Russian Defense Ministry said the special operation is targeting Ukrainian military infrastructure only and the civilian population is not in danger. -(ANI)