Russia didn't plan to exchange Ukrainian POWs in Olenivka and deliberately killed them by mining the prison
3 August, 2022

Ukrainian Intelligence established some circumstances of the explosion in Olenivka prison, where Ukrainian prisoners of war died. The Russian Federation deliberately mined the prison and killed Ukrainian prisoners of war to hide the facts of tortures, says the Defence Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

"The Russian side had no intention of exchanging prisoners of war, and to hide the improper conditions and forms of interrogation of Ukrainian service members (which could serve as an evidentiary basis at the Hague Court) deliberately destroyed the prisoners," the Intelligence said.

According to the data the Defence Intelligence has, the places of detention of Ukrainian fighters were mined by the Russian Wagner Group using a highly flammable substance, which led to the rapid spread of fire in the premises of the prison.

The Intelligence also reports that the Ukrainian POWs were regularly interrogated before the explosion in prison by "investigators" of the self-proclaimed "DPR," representatives of the Wagner Group and Russian FSB. Physical torture and beatings were actively used during interrogations.

"Such measures, first of all, were not aimed at obtaining certain confidential information, but at bullying, physical humiliation, psychological demoralization with the aim of breaking the moral and psychological qualities of Ukrainian service members," Ukraine's Ministry of Defense saysstressing that the interrogations were not successful and Ukrainian service members showed "exceptional courage and indomitable will."

The Intelligence added that if Russia succeeded in breaking the spirit of Ukrainian POWs, they would be involved in the creating of pro-Russian TV reports, in which the Ukrainian fighters would allegedly "admit the crimes they committed against the local population, renounce their views and condemn the actions of the leadership of Ukraine."

What happened in Olenivka?

On July 29, Russian propagandists claimed that the Armed Forces of Ukraine attacked a prison in the village of Olenivka in Donetsk Oblast, where Ukrainian POWs are detained, with HIMARS multiple rocket launchers. The leader of the self-proclaimed "DPR" Pushylin said that the shelling could have happened because the prisoners "began to testify."

Ukraine's Prosecutor General's Office has launched an investigation into the Russian shelling of a prison in the occupied Olenivka in Donetsk Oblast, where Ukrainian POWs, including members of the Azov Regiment, were detained.

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

On July 30, Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Dmytro Lubinets said that the Ukrainian side had begun the procedure of returning the bodies of the fallen service members held in the Olenivka prison. The Ukrainian side sent a corresponding request to return the bodies of the dead to the territory which is under the control of the Ukrainian authorities.