US officials believe that Russia is trying to fabricate evidence regarding the strike on the former correctional colony No. 120 in the village of Yelenovka, which is under the control of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic”. An unnamed American official familiar with the findings of the intelligence services told the AP news agency on Wednesday, August 3. U.S. intelligence officials have determined that Moscow is trying to create the impression that the Ukrainian side is responsible for the attack, which killed more than 50 people.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on August 3 that the organization is preparing a group of experts to investigate the deaths of Ukrainian prisoners of war in Yelenovka. Guterres stressed that specialists need unhindered access, which must be provided by both sides of the conflict.
Ukrainian prisoners of war from Azovstal
The territory of the former penal colony was shelled on July 29. Some of the Ukrainian servicemen who were taken captive from the territory were kept there. Mariupol plant “Azovstal” in the middle of May. As a result of the attack on Yelenovka, more than 50 people were killed, more than 70 – according to information from pro-Russian forces – were injured.
Russia and Ukraine accused each other of shelling. Thus, the Russian Federation stated that the Ukrainian military used to shell the colonies supplied by the United States HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems. The Ukrainian military denies any rocket or artillery strikes on this settlement. The Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine claims that the explosion on the territory of the penitentiary, where Ukrainian prisoners of war were kept, was carried out by the hands of Wagner PMC fighters without the consent of the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Official Kyiv on the same day called on the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to send an inspection mission to Yelenovka. The Russian Defense Ministry later said it had “officially invited” UN and ICRC experts to the scene to “conduct an objective investigation.” In turn, the ICRC indicated that they had not received a response to their request to visit the colony.