Deadly explosion in colony in occupied Olenivka: PGO starts investigation, SBU intercepts Russian conversations
29 July, 2022

The Prosecutor General's Office has launched an investigation into the shelling by Russian troops of a colony in the occupied Olenivka in Donetsk Oblast, where Ukrainian prisoners, including Azov fighters, were held, the PGO reported.

Both prisoners of war and civilians were held in the colony. According to the investigation, approximately 40 people died and another 130 were injured. The self-proclaimed "DPR" reported 53 dead Ukrainians and 75 wounded.

A criminal case was opened over the violation of the laws and customs of war (Part 2 of Article 438 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine).

The SBU intercepted telephone conversations in which the representatives of the "DPR" confirm that the Russian troops are to blame for this tragedy. According to the intercepts, Russians could have place explosives inside the colony. In particular, none of the eyewitnesses heard a characteristic whistle from the rocket: the explosions occurred by themselves.

According to the leaked conversations, the Russian army placed Grad systems near the colony and started firing from them on the territory controlled by Ukraine. But no shelling in response was observed.

In addition, in the videos distributed by the propagandists, the windows in some rooms of the colony were completely intact. This indicates that the epicenter of the explosion was inside the destroyed building, and its walls restrained the blast waves. The preliminary analysis of the video shows that such traces of the explosion on the walls could most likely have remained due to the "internal source" of the explosion.

Ukrainian intelligence said that the explosions in Olenivka were carried out by mercenaries of the Wagner Group PMC, allegedly on the personal command of the nominal owner Yevgeny Prigozhin. According to intelligence, the organization and implementation of the explosion was not coordinated with the leadership of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.

The intelligence agency says that the explosion was organized to "conceal the facts of the total embezzlement of funds allocated for the maintenance of Ukrainian prisoners of war." Another goal is to increase social tension in Ukraine.

What is known?

Russian propagandists claimed that the Armed Forces of Ukraine struck a colony in the village of Olenivka, Donetsk Oblast, where Ukrainian prisoners are held, with HIMARS rocket launchers. The leader of the unrecognized "DPR" Denis Pushilin said that the shelling could have happened because the prisoners "began to testify."

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has denied launching rocket and artillery strikes on the area of the settlement of Olenivka. The army command believes that Russians are committing war crimes in order to "cover up the torture of prisoners and executions carried out there on the orders of the occupation administration and the command of the Russian Armed Forces."

The adviser to the head of the President's Office, Mykhailo Podolyak, emphasized that there are no operational military objectives for the Ukrainian army in Olenivka, and the scale and speed of the information campaign of Russian propagandists indicate that this was precisely the planned action of the Russian Federation.

The Patronage Service of the Azov regiment is currently establishing the names of the dead and injured. The International Committee of the Red Cross has also set off for the colony.

Not a shelling, but an explosion?

The Media Initiative for Human Rights is trying to establish the circumstances of the explosion. Their sources assure that there was no shelling of the territory of the colony on July 28, but there was an explosion. They note that the sound of the approach, characteristic of shelling, was not heard.

Sources claim that an explosion was heard in Olenivka in the evening of July 28, and ambulances came to the colony at night and in the morning. Other sources say that the explosion occurred when some of the prisoners of war were near the barracks outside. After it, everyone was ordered indoors, but many heard screams from outside.

The MIHR has received an approximate plan of the territory of the colony. The barrack in which the explosion occurred could be located in the technical zone, which is called "promka". Another source noted that this barrack was not normally used to house prisoners, but on the eve of the explosion, approximately 200 Azov fighters from Mariupol were transferred there.