Ukraine: a bombed prison, Zelensky denounces “a deliberate Russian war crime”

Ukraine: a bombed prison, Zelensky denounces “a deliberate Russian war crime”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called Friday’s prison bombing that killed “more than 50 people” a “deliberate Russian war crime” after Moscow blamed Ukrainian forces.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Zelensky had overseen an initial shipment of grain, crucial to global food security.

The strike on Olenivka prison, where Ukrainian prisoners of war were held, in separatist territory in eastern Ukraine, is “a deliberate Russian war crime, a deliberate mass murder”, the leader says of the Ukrainian state. This “attack of the occupants” made “more than 50 dead”.

Earlier, the Russian army had reported 40 dead and 75 injured, with pro-Russian separatist authorities in the Donetsk region citing up to 53 dead.

– EU accuses Russian armed forces –

At first, it was Moscow who had implicated kyiv. The Russian Investigative Committee accused the Ukrainian forces of having “fired on the prison where the members of the Azov battalion are being held, using American projectiles of the Himars system”.

The Azov regiment had distinguished itself in the defense of Mariupol (south-east). After long weeks of siege and resistance at the Azovstal steelworks, some 2,500 Ukrainian fighters surrendered to the Russian army in May. Moscow had made it known that they would be imprisoned in Olenivka.

“This outrageous provocation aims to scare Ukrainian soldiers and dissuade them from surrendering,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.

But Ukraine then quickly denied having targeted civilian infrastructure or prisoners of war, ensuring that the army “fully adheres to the principles and standards of international humanitarian law”.

The Ukrainian general staff considered that it was thus a question of “accusing Ukraine of having committed war crimes” and of “camouflaging the torture of prisoners and the executions” which were “perpetrated” there. .

According to Ukrainian intelligence, the attack “was carried out by mercenaries from the Wagner division” and “was not coordinated with the leadership” of the Russian Ministry of Defense, then clarified the Ukrainian staff.

Russian public television, for its part, broadcast images presented as those of charred barracks and destroyed metal bed frames. She showed blurry images of what appear to be human bodies.

AFP was unable to verify all of these statements from independent sources.

For its part, the European Union condemned “in the strongest terms the atrocities committed by the Russian armed forces and their auxiliaries”, in a press release from its head of diplomacy targeting both the bombardment of the prison and accusations of torture on a Ukrainian prisoner. “These inhuman and barbaric acts constitute serious violations of the Geneva Conventions and their additional protocol and amount to war crimes”, added Josep Borrell.

– Station destroyed –

Still on the ground of military operations, at least five people were killed and seven injured in a Russian strike that hit a bus stop in the Mykolaiv region (southern Ukraine), according to regional governor Vitaly Kim.

And at least eight people, according to the Ukrainian presidency, have died and 19 have been injured in the past 24 hours in the Donetsk region, partly controlled since 2014 by pro-Russian separatists and which Moscow is seeking to conquer in full.

In the Kharkiv region (northeast), at least one person was killed and seven others injured.

The Ukrainian army for its part destroyed a station in Brylivka, a village in the occupied region of Kherson (south), where the Ukrainians launched a counter-offensive in order to complicate the supplies of the Russian forces, affirmed the local deputy Serguiï Khlan.

Separately, the life sentence handed down to a Russian soldier in May for killing a civilian in Ukraine was reduced to 15 years in prison on appeal by a kyiv court.

Sergeant Vadim Chichimarine, 21, had admitted shooting dead Oleksandre Chelipov, 62, in the northeast during the first days of the invasion launched by the Russian army on February 24. Pleading guilty, he was sentenced on May 23 for war crimes and premeditated murder.

– Imminent grain exports –

Regarding cereals blocked in Ukraine since the start of the war, exports could resume “in the coming days”, according to kyiv.

President Zelensky visited the port of Chornomorsk on the Black Sea on Friday to oversee a first shipment of grain to a Turkish ship, under the terms of the agreement reached on July 22 with Russia.

“We are fully prepared. We have sent all the signals to our partners, to the UN and to Turkey, and our military guarantees the security situation,” Zelensky said. kyiv is only waiting for a “signal” from Ankara and the UN, guarantors of the agreement, to “begin”, he stressed.

According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure, 17 ships have already been loaded with grain in Chornomorsk and Odessa, and ten are ready to leave.

Ukraine, like Russia, are among the world’s largest grain exporters. kyiv says it wants to sell some 20 million tonnes for around $10 billion as part of the deal to ease a global food crisis that has seen prices soar in some of the world’s poorest countries.

On the diplomatic front, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he warned his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov that the world would “never” recognize the annexation of Ukrainian territories by Russia.

During a discussion described as “frank and direct”, he also urged Moscow to accept Washington’s offer for the release of Americans detained in Russia.

In the energy field, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and French President Emmanuel Macron wanted to “intensify cooperation” to “mitigate the effects in Europe, the Middle East and the world” of the war in Ukraine, according to the French presidency.

Since the start of the Russian offensive, Western countries have been trying to convince Ryad to open the floodgates in order to relieve the markets.

Finally, the financial rating agency S&P on Friday lowered Ukraine’s long-term debt rating by three notches to CC, estimating that the spreading of its payments recently proposed by several Western countries is equivalent to a virtual default. certain.


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