Advertisement

Rocket attack kills dozens of POWs in Donbas; Ukraine, Russia accuse each other

Ukrainian soldiers operate an American-made 155mm M777 towed howitzer in their positions in the Kharkiv area of Ukraine on Thursday. Russian officials accused Ukraine on Friday of using U.S.-supplied rockets to attack a prison in Olenivka. Photo by Sergey Kozlov/EPA-EFE
Ukrainian soldiers operate an American-made 155mm M777 towed howitzer in their positions in the Kharkiv area of Ukraine on Thursday. Russian officials accused Ukraine on Friday of using U.S.-supplied rockets to attack a prison in Olenivka. Photo by Sergey Kozlov/EPA-EFE

July 29 (UPI) -- Ukrainian and Russian officials traded accusations on Friday of bombing a location in the Donbas region that killed dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war that were captured after the long battle for Mariupol.

The attack targeted a prison in Olenivka in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine. Both sides said about 40 or 50 Ukrainian POWs died in the attack.

Advertisement

Russian military officials said the attack was carried out with U.S.-supplied HIMARS rocket systems like those recently shipped to Ukrainian forces.

Ukrainian officials said they were not responsible for the attack -- and said Moscow carried out the shelling with the intention of accusing Ukraine to cover up killings there and accuse Kyiv of war crimes.

RELATED Biden tells Xi U.S. strongly opposes changing Taiwan status quo

The Ukrainian Prosecutor General's Office said it launched an investigation into the strike.

The Olenivka attack injured about 75 others.

The slain troops had been captured by Russia after the battle for Mariupol earlier this year, which lasted for weeks and ended with the troops fending off Russian forces at a steel plant there. Many civilians were also hunkered down at the plant.

RELATED Russia launches strikes from Belarus, hits northern Ukraine, Kyiv

The Donbas comprises the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and it has been the primary focus of the Russian military's war since about April.

Advertisement

Meanwhile Friday, regional Gov. Vitaliy Kim said at least five people were killed and several were injured in a separate attack on a public transportation stop in Mykolaiv. Another attack in the residential area of Bilenke injured at least three, Mayor Oleksandr Honcharenko said.

Russian forces also targeted the towns of Sloviansk and Bakhmut with heavy shelling as they made advances across the region.

RELATED U.S., Ukraine sign cybersecurity collaboration agreement

Ukrainian officials said they have taken the next step in their counteroffensive in the southern part of the country by attacking locations Russia has struggled to resupply.

Ukraine says the strategy has helped it retake several small settlements in the Kherson region -- which has been under Russian control for months -- and hit five Russian strongholds.

The Ukrainian military said it was able to repel Russian attacks in the Soledar, Vershy and Smirhiya districts.

"And again, without success -- they suffered losses and left," the military's general staff said Friday evening, according to CNN. "Our soldiers decisively suppressed all offensive and assault actions of the occupiers in the Avdiivka, Kamianka, Krasnohorivka and Pisky areas."

Russian supply lines in the area were disrupted earlier this week when Ukrainian forces targeted the Antonivskiy Bridge, which runs over the Dnieper River near Kherson in far southern Ukraine close to the Black Sea.

Advertisement

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk continued to call for residents in Russian-occupied areas of the Donbas to evacuate Friday, warning that they risk being cut off from "power, water, food and medical supplies, heating and communication."

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement