World Rocket attack kills dozens of prisoners of war in...

Rocket attack kills dozens of prisoners of war in Donbas; Ukraine and Russia accuse each other


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Ukrainian servicemen operate with American-made 155mm M777 towed howitzer on 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 (BP) — 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 of Ukraine’s prisoners of war died in the attack.

Russian military officials say that the attack was carried out with U.S.-supplied HIMARS rocket systems — equipment that the United States recently shipped to Ukrainian forces.

Ukrainian officials said they were not responsible for Friday’s deadly attack on the prison — and said Moscow carried out the shelling with the intention of accusing Ukraine to cover up killings there and accuse Kyiv of war crimes.

The Olenivka attack wounded about 75 others.

The killed troops were 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 power plant there. A number of civilians were also hunkered down at the plant.

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

Meanwhile Friday, regional Gov. Vitaliy Kim said at least five people were killed and several were wounded in a separate attack on a public transportation stop in Mykolaiv — and another 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 continued advances across the region.

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 re-supply.

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 in the region.

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.

Ukraine 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.”


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