Videos: Ukrainian Strike Kills 53 Ukrainian Prisoners of War in DPR, Donetsk Says
10:30 GMT 29.07.2022 (Updated: 14:26 GMT 29.07.2022)
The Russian Defense Ministry described the attack as a "flagrant provocation" aimed at intimidating Ukrainian servicemen who think about laying down their arms and surrendering.
The death toll from the Ukrainian strike on a detention center in Elenovka, Donbass, has surged to 53 people, the territorial defense staff of the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) announced on Friday.
"As a result of overnight shelling by the AFU [Armed Forces of Ukraine] of the Volnovakha penal colony number 120... in the village of Elenovka, where Ukrainian prisoners of war are detained, 53 people were killed and 75 others were injured," the statement read.
The shelling of the detention facility was premeditated and launched because the militants imprisoned there, particularly those from the neo-Nazi Azov battalion, had started to give testimonies implicating the Kiev regime, DPR head Denis Pushilin said.
"Obviously, it is a deliberate shelling fueled by the desire to eliminate those representatives, in particular, Azov, who have begun to testify. There is quite a lot of testimonies, some of which became public, even more was recorded by our investigative bodies," Pushilin told Russian Channel One broadcaster.
He stressed that the testimony of the Azov militants was damaging for Kiev and, probably, for this reason the Ukrainian army decided to launch a precision strike on the barracks with prisoners of war.
The Russian Defense Ministry said earlier on Friday that the Ukrainian military had attacked a pre-trial detention center near Elenovka in the Donbass region with HIMARS rocket systems and killed 40 Ukrainian prisoners of war.
"40 Ukrainian prisoners of war were killed and 75 wounded. In addition, eight employees of the pre-trial detention center received injuries of different severity," the ministry told reporters.
The ministry called the Ukrainian attack a "flagrant provocation" aimed at intimidating Ukrainian soldiers who think about surrendering.