Over 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war reportedly killed in shelling
Russia claims Ukrainian attack carried out to deter servicemen from surrendering, but Ukraine denies allegation
ANKARAOver 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war were killed in an overnight attack on Friday at a pre-trial detention center in the Russia-controlled territory of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, according to a local, Kremlin-aligned official.
Denis Pushilin, head of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic,” said the number of victims of the shelling rose to 53, up from an earlier Russian Defense Ministry figure of 40, Russian news agency Interfax reported.
The ministry also said 75 others were wounded in the attack, a claim denied by Kyiv.
Most of those killed were captured at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, which fell to Russia after a long siege, said a ministry statement.
The Ukrainian attack was a "deliberate bloody provocation" meant to intimidate Ukrainian servicemen into not surrendering, the statement claimed,
Eight prison staffers were also injured in the attack.
The attack was carried out by a missile launched from US-supplied long-range High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), the statement added.
A large number of Ukrainian servicemen have voluntarily surrendered in recent days after learning about Russia's "humane attitude towards prisoners of war," the statement alleged.
Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Interior Ministry, denied the Russian account.
"All Russian media are full of claims that Ukraine made a rocket strike on prison in Elenovka near Donetsk – where Ukrainian POWs were, mostly from Azovstal. Obviously, Ukrainian Army would never shoot any object like that. It is either a fake altogether or another horrible Russian crime," he said in a tweet.
The Donetsk enclave was declared “independent” on the eve of the war, which Russia launched on Feb. 24, but no one but Moscow has recognized it. Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.