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Russia and Ukraine pass on blame for POW prison strike

#Russia #Ukraine #pass #blame #POW #prison #strike

Moscow and Kyiv on Friday accused each other of bombing a prison housing Ukrainian prisoners of war in Russian-controlled territory, with Russia saying 40 prisoners and eight prison staff were killed.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said the Ukrainian attacks were carried out with US-supplied long-range missiles in a “egregious provocation” aimed at preventing the soldiers from surrendering.

It said among the dead were Ukrainian forces who had laid down their arms after repelling Moscow’s attack on the sprawling Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.

The claims came as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited a port in southern Ukraine to oversee a ship being loaded with grain for export as part of a United Nations-backed plan to end a food crisis.

Ukraine’s presidency said exports could start in the “coming days” under the plan aimed at bringing millions of tons of Ukrainian grain stranded by Russia’s naval blockade to world markets.

– “Petrifying War Crime” –

After the prison strike, Russian state television showed what appeared to be destroyed barracks and tangled metal beds, but no victims were seen.

The Ukrainian military denied carrying out the attack, saying its forces “did not launch rocket and artillery strikes in the area of ​​the Olenivka settlement.”

Instead, she blamed the invading Russian forces for “aimed artillery shelling” at the detention center and said it was being used “to accuse Ukraine of committing ‘war crimes’ and to cover up the torture of prisoners and executions.”

“Russia committed another petrifying war crime by shelling a correctional facility in occupied Olenivka where Ukrainian prisoners of war were being held,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter.

Ukrainian forces ended a week-long siege of Azovstal in May, with some 2,500 fighters surrendering after ceasing their initial resistance.

Moscow’s state media reports that some officers – including those of the controversial Azov regiment – have been brought to Russia.

Kyiv says it captured thousands of Russian troops during the invasion and began trying some for alleged war crimes.

A Ukrainian court on Friday reduced the life sentence awarded to a Russian soldier in May for first degree murder in the country’s first war crimes trial, and instead sentenced the soldier to 15 years in prison.

– Mykolayiv strikes –

Five people were killed and seven others wounded in Russian attacks elsewhere in Ukraine on Friday in the heavily bombed town of Mykolaiv near the country’s southern front, the regional governor said.

“They shot at another area near a public transport stop,” Gov. Vitaliy Kim said in a statement on social media.

Mykolaiv, near the Black Sea, has left about half its estimated pre-war population of nearly 500,000 and the city has been shelled daily for weeks.

It is the largest Ukrainian-controlled urban center near the front lines in the Kherson region, where the Kiev army launched a counter-offensive to regain control of the economically and strategically important coastal area.

The Ukrainian presidency said on Friday that Russian attacks on the city a day earlier had hit a humanitarian aid distribution point, wounding three people.

In the eastern Donetsk region, Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko also said on Friday that Moscow’s forces had killed eight people and wounded 19 others in attacks the previous day.

– loading of grain ships –

The relentless violence on the ground comes as Ukraine tries to press ahead with resuming key grain exports under a Turkey-UN brokered plan to lift Russia’s naval blockade of the Black Sea.

The Ukrainian Presidency released footage of Zelenskyy standing in front of the Turkish ship Polarnet in the port of Chornomorsk to inspect the loading of grain.

“The first ship, the first ship is being loaded since the beginning of the war,” Zelenskyy said in a statement.

Zelensky said Kyiv is “waiting for a signal” from Ankara and the UN to start exports, which it hopes will help ease a global food crisis that has pushed up prices.

The rise in food costs is just one of the shockwaves that Moscow’s war in Ukraine is sending around the world.

Energy prices have also risen dramatically as Moscow halted gas supplies to Europe and the turmoil hit oil markets.

The French Presidency said President Emmanuel Macron and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had agreed to cooperate in talks in Paris to limit the impact of the war.

Macron attended the meeting, despite heavy criticism from human rights groups, to urge major crude oil producer Saudi Arabia to increase production.

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#Russia #Ukraine #pass #blame #POW #prison #strike

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