There is every reason to believe that the July 29 bombing of a detention center housing Ukrainian prisoners of war was carried out on orders from Kyiv
It was extremely difficult to witness first-hand the charred and twisted remains of Ukrainian POWs in the Yelenovka detention center. The stench of death was overwhelming. The bodies remained in the ruins and melted into the metal bunk beds they were on at the time of the bombardment.
Other corpses, presumably killed by shrapnel instead of burning alive, lay outside. A soldier was inspecting them, presumably to determine the exact cause and the identity of the victims. Even though the Ukrainian side killed its own soldiers, it was the Russians who took care of identifying the remains.
I have shared some of the gruesome photos and my thoughts on Twitter immediately after returning from Elenovka.
The stench of death was everywhere. It is almost certain that Ukraine did this intentionally, towards its own soldiers who had surrendered and, as Basurin pointed out, confessed to their killing of Donbass civilians, which came from the orders of the commanders, who came from kyiv. pic.twitter.com/bq3zusjpX6
– Eva Karene Bartlett (@EvaKBartlett) July 29, 2022
The next morning, I drove around Donetsk to document the extreme dangerousness “petal” mines that Ukraine dropped on the city. According to the DPR emergency services, eight civilians had been killed by these mines the day before. If you step on one of these tiny but powerful explosives, chances are it will just rip off your leg instead of killing you. And they insidiously resemble toys, likely to attract children’s attention.
Who benefits from Elenovka’s war crime?
Ukraine and Western media predictably blame Russia for the bombing of the Yelenovka detention center that killed 53 people. Russia and the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) alternately point the finger at kyiv.
In addition to those killed, the 2 a.m. bombing, which DPR officials say was carried out using US-supplied HIMARS, injured at least eight employees and more of 70 prisoners of war held there. The prisoners were captured Ukrainian fighters, mostly members of the neo-Nazi militia from Azov who had surrendered in Mariupol in May.
If HIMARS, or High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System, was indeed the source of the destruction and death, then it is almost certain that Ukraine bombed the prison, given that Kyiv had the coordinates and is the only party to the conflict that possesses such weapons. Even the Pentagon admits it’s possible, while calling the strike a “involuntary.”
Logically, Russia had no motivation to bomb the prison. For Ukraine, on the other hand, these prisoners of war represented a liability, insofar as they could testify to the alleged war crimes they had committed against the civilians of Donbass.
Ukraine has made a litany of claims designed to incriminate Russia throughout the current conflict – the Bucha massacre, the Mariupol maternity strike, the Ghost of kyiv hoax, the alleged civilian mass graves, the bogus outlandish allegations of Russian soldiers committing sex crimes, which even saw Ukraine’s former parliamentary human rights commissioner sacked by kyiv’s own parliament.
Russia has invited the UN and the International Red Cross to investigate the bombing of the Elenovka prison. Meanwhile, online observers used publicly available data to paint a picture of what happened. Here is an insightful analysis from the Rybar Telegram channel (with over 627,000 subscribers), which specializes in military analysis:
“The eastern part of the building suffered the most damage, where a powerful fire and explosion occurred, which blew out the windows.” Judging by the angle of impact, the analyst concludes that “shooting was carried out from the Marinka-Kurakhovo trajectory – the Sergeevka triangle – Pokrovsk-Udachnoe.” It is a territory under Ukrainian control. The analysis could not conclude whether HIMARS was used, based on the information available.
Along the ‘who benefits?’ line of thought, a number of circumstances also point to kyiv. These were also reported by Russian observers and compiled into a timeline. Captured Azov Nazis were taken to the Elenovka detention center in late May. While prisoner exchanges between Ukraine and Russia have included fighters from Azov, there is strong opposition to their handing over to Kyiv, meaning there is no guarantee they would be exchanged in the future, which could make it a handicap for Kyiv. On June 20, reports of the Ukrainian bombing of the prison already appeared on Russian channels watching the conflict. On July 28, a confession from an Azov member emerged claiming that neo-Nazis in Kharkov and kyiv had received direct orders from Zelensky’s office to torture and murder Russian POWs. Late at night/early the next morning, Ukraine struck the very detention center where the Azov member who had confessed was held, along with others who may have confessed.
Elsewhere, other neo-Nazis in captivity have confessed to deliberately murdering civilians, a public relations disaster for Ukraine, made worse if prisoners at Yelenovka followed suit.
Last but not least, just two days before the Elenovka strike, the US Senate passed a resolution urging the State Department to recognize Russia as “sponsor of terrorism”. By carrying out an attack and blaming Moscow, kyiv could aim to push through this decision – even if the State Department would be reluctant.
And here is the reason for today’s Ukrainian missile attack: Yermak, head of the office of the President of Ukraine, wrote that “the Russian terrorist attack in Elenovka” should lead to the recognition of Russia as sponsor of terrorism. pic.twitter.com/MYFqoJhBNt
— Maria Dubovikova (@politblogme) July 29, 2022
Given Ukraine’s multiple attempts to incriminate Russia and eight years of bombing civilians in Donbass, killing its own soldiers is not too much of a stretch. In fact, Ukrainian soldiers who surrendered claimed their commanders had threatened to shoot them if they tried to desert, and even Ukrainian nationalists fired on them when they tried to surrender, killing or injuring dozens. of people in one case.
It is up to Russian and DPR doctors to preserve the lives of Ukrainian POWs – even those apparently injured by friendly fire. Outside a hospital in Donetsk after the Elenovka bombing, one of the doctors working on the injured Ukrainians said five of them had already been successfully operated on for their shrapnel wounds and that two others were to undergo operations.
“It doesn’t matter which side you are on, we will help you”, he said.
The horrifying scenes of charred flesh and bodies riddled with shrapnel that I saw in prison will be etched in my memory for a long time. Yes, war is ugly, but Ukraine is upping the ante when it comes to war crimes and hypocrisy.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.