Both sides in the ongoing war in Ukraine have blamed each other for shelling a military prison in a separatist region in the east of the embattled country. Ukrainian prisoners of war, captured following the fall of Mariupol, had been kept at the facility in Olenivka following the fall of the city.

Firefighters attend to a home destroyed in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, during a Russian missile strike. Image Credit: Press service of the Donetsk Regional Military Administration

Finger Pointing

Russia and Ukraine pointed the finger at each other, stating that the attack on the prison was a way of silencing the inmates and therefore keeping the world from hearing about any potential atrocities or war crimes.

Olenivka, the settlement where the prison is located in the Russian-controlled breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic. Russian officials report that 53 Ukrainian POWs died in the attack, and another 75 were injured. Those killed ranged in age from 20 to 62.

Denis Pushilin, who has served as the head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) since 2018, informed the press that the prison held 193 inmates. However, he did not specify how many of those were prisoners of war.