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Russia to plant 'evidence' blaming West for Ukrainian prison camp rocket blast, US officials fear

Russia plans to post ‘evidence’ that blames West for missile blast at Ukrainian prison camp, US officials fear

  • Olenivka Prison was destroyed in an attack on July 29 that killed 53 POWs
  • Russia falsified evidence to claim Ukraine is responsible, US intelligence claims
  • The prison was located in the ‘Donetsk People’s Republic’ in occupied eastern Ukraine

Russia is working to falsify evidence to claim Western missiles destroyed a prison housing Ukrainian POWs, Washington warned yesterday.

US intelligence says Russia wants Ukrainian troops to appear responsible for the July 29 attack on Olenivka prison, which left 53 dead.

Russia has said the Ukrainian military has used US rocket launchers to attack the prison in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry claimed to have evidence that the DPR colluded with the Russian FSB and Moscow’s mercenary group, Wagner, to mine the barracks before “a flammable substance was used, which led to the rapid spread of fire in the room.” .

A destroyed barrack in a prison in Olenivka, Donetsk People’s Republic, an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces, eastern Ukraine, Friday, July 29

Russia has said the Ukrainian military used US rocket launchers to attack the prison in the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), but the Ukrainian defense ministry claimed the DPR colluded with Russia to destroy the barracks

Russia has said the Ukrainian military used US rocket launchers to attack the prison in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), but the Ukrainian defense ministry claimed the DPR colluded with Russia to destroy the barracks

Satellite image of Olenivka prison in Ukraine's Donetsk region on July 27

Satellite image of Olenivka prison in Ukraine’s Donetsk region on July 27

A US official said Russia could even plant High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems ammunition as proof that the US-supplied weapons have been used, as it expects independent investigators and journalists to eventually gain access to Olenivka’s site.

Other Western officials said yesterday that the lack of extensive damage, with bunks still standing, would not have been seen had HIMARS been used.

Ukraine has effectively used HIMARS launchers, which fire medium-range missiles and can be moved quickly before Russia can attack them with backfire, and has searched for more launchers from the United States.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday he was appointing a fact-finding mission in response to requests from Russia and Ukraine to investigate the killings in the prison.

A woman with fake bloodstains waves a newspaper that reads 'Olenivka' during a protest by friends and relatives of Azov battalion soldiers from Olenivka near Donetsk, in Kiev on August 4, 2022

A woman with fake bloodstains waves a newspaper that reads ‘Olenivka’ during a protest yesterday in the Ukrainian capital Kiev

The Ukrainian POWs held there included troops captured during the fall of Mariupol.

They spent months with civilians at the giant Azovstal steel plant in the southern port city.

Their resistance during a relentless Russian bombardment became a symbol of Ukrainian resistance to Russian aggression.

More than 2,400 soldiers of the Azov regiment of the Ukrainian National Guard and other military units gave up their fight and surrendered on orders from the Ukrainian army in May.

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