September 22, 2023


Unforgettable trip

PoW families wait for news following Donetsk prison attack that killed 50 | Ukraine

The family members of Ukrainian prisoners of war getting held in a jail in Russian-occupied Donetsk that was bombed stated they are desperate for news.

The prisoners consist of members of the Azov battalion who had been trapped in the Azovstal metal plant in Mariupol, in accordance to previously statements by Russia’s ministry of defence. The jail is situated in the city of Olenivka, just 10 kilometres from Ukraine’s frontlines.

“At the minute, my partner is not on the lists and I imagine that he is alive,” explained Alina Nesterenko, whose husband was taken to the jail in Russian-occupied Donetsk just after surrendering at Azovstal. “But loads of the men are dead, tons of the fellas are hurt in Olenivka [prison].”

Russia has introduced lists of 75 wounded and 50 lifeless – nevertheless they have not been verified by Ukraine’s authorities or the Worldwide Committee of the Purple Cross (ICRC), who were being checking situations at the jail.

“It’s unclear what occurred but you just cannot provide men and women again to life,” reported Nesterenko.

The jail holding Ukrainian prisoners of war (PoWs) was bombed on Thursday night time, killing at the very least 50, in accordance to both the Ukrainian and Russian authorities.

Russia and Ukraine have blamed every other for the attack.

Ukraine reported Russia carried it out to deal with up its mistreatment of PoWs. The prisoners should have been protected by guarantees secured by the United Nations and the Pink Cross, explained Volodymyr Zelenskiy. He joined his international minister, Dmytro Kuleba, in urging people organisations to intervene and investigate.

In the meantime, Russia’s occupying authorities have blamed the assault on Ukraine, declaring it utilised a US-supplied Himar to strike the facility in purchase to discourage Ukrainian forces who might be taking into consideration surrendering. The Twitter account of Russia’s embassy in the United kingdom known as for Azov’s fighters to be executed by hanging rather than firing squad as “they are not true soldiers”. The assertion has been criticised by commentators in the United kingdom.

It is not possible for the Guardian to confirm the versions place forward by either facet.

We should really expel the Russian ambassador – the embassy is brazenly working with the dwelling place granted in the United kingdom to advocate but much more war crimes.

— Mark Wallace (@wallaceme) July 29, 2022

Ukraine’s western associates look to be on its aspect. The European Union’s significant representative, Josep Borrell, blamed Russia for the attack in a assertion on Friday. Borrell also condemned movies that have been circulating on pro-Kremlin media networks of a Russian soldier castrating a Ukrainian soldier.

Aric Toler, from the investigative group Bellingcat, mentioned the footage showed no symptoms of editing or manipulation and that it was possible to identify the perpetrator.

The Global Committee of the Red Cross questioned on Friday for access to the jail website and to evacuate the wounded.

On Saturday, Russia invited authorities from the UN and the Red Cross to probe the deaths. In a assertion, its defence ministry claimed it was performing “in the passions of conducting an aim investigation” into what it known as an assault on the jail earlier in the 7 days.

Nesterenko could not be certain her husband was secure as she experienced not heard from him since he left Azovstal, with issues difficult by the truth that Russia has refused to ensure his position in the jail.

She explained he was one particular the very first to appear out of Azovstal but the ICRC was not nevertheless existing. Since then, she reported, she experienced done the vital ICRC kinds and the Ukrainian facet have verified he is a prisoner in Olenivka but Russia has not.

“I know he’s a prisoner in Olenivka mainly because I’ve periodically observed him in various images and videos of the cafeteria and in lineups,” stated Nesterenko. “All [our] fellas are practically unrecognisable, they glimpse exhausted, skinny, pale and their skin has long gone some type of yellow colour.”

However some of the family members thought their liked kinds experienced survived, other people were nervously awaiting information from the dependable Ukrainian authorities, she said.

“Three of us have not heard just about anything (from the Ukrainian authorities) so we presume they are great, one more girl’s spouse was wounded and then there is a further whose husband was in the barrack that was strike but she has not heard anything at all,” stated Nesterenko.

Signal up to To start with Edition, our free every day e-newsletter – just about every weekday morning at 7am BST

“Under the Geneva conference they are allowed a cell phone connect with every two months, this has not occurred,” claimed Nesterenko.

She explained do the job towards a prisoner exchange had seemed to have stalled because 144 closely wounded fighters were exchanged in June.

Relatives of Ukrainian PoWs from Azovstal named on the planet to recognise Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism “which violates the guidelines of warfare and does not comply with the Geneva conventions”.

The statement further termed on the ICRC and the UN, as guarantors of the Azovstal surrender, to vacation to the jail to look into what took place, look at on the wounded and aid the transfer of bodies.