Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday July 30 called on residents of the Donetsk region to evacuate to escape the “Terror in Russia” and the bombings in this part of the east of the country.
“A government decision was taken on the mandatory evacuation of the Donetsk region”Mr. Zelensky said in an evening video address. “Please evacuate”he asked, before adding: “At this stage of the war, terror is Russia’s main weapon. »
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk first announced the forced evacuation of the entire population of Donetsk, one of the two administrative regions of the Donbass industrial basin, where Russia claims land. He justified this decision, in televised declarations, by the destruction of gas networks and the loss of heating in the next winter in the region.
At least 200,000 civilians still live in the territories of the Donetsk region that are not under Russian occupation, according to an estimate by the Ukrainian authorities. “In total, there are currently about 52,000 children in the Donetsk region. The police explained to the parents that the evacuation involves providing accommodation and providing all necessary assistance”said the national police, who led the operation.
Russian strikes on cities in the region cause casualties among the civilian population almost daily. In the night from Saturday to Sunday, the Ukrainian army reported Russian artillery strikes, especially in Bakhmout and Kramatorsk, near the front line.
“Deliberate war crime in Russia” in Olenivka
On Friday, the bombing of a barracks housing Ukrainian military prisoners in Olenivka, in the Russian-occupied territory of the Donetsk region, left around fifty dead. A “deliberate war crime in Russia”according to Mr. Zelensky.
Ukraine’s human rights official Dmytro Lubinetsk announced on Saturday that he had asked the Red Cross and the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission, which supervised in May the surrender negotiated with the Russians by the defenders of the Azovstal factory in Mariupol (south -east) , to get to Olenivka.
After weeks of siege and resistance at the steel site, about 2,500 Ukrainian fighters surrendered and Moscow announced that they would be imprisoned in Olenivka. “When the defenders of Azovstal left the factory, the UN and the ICRC acted as guarantors of the life and health of our soldiers”Mr. Zelensky said on Friday night, calling on the UN and the Red Cross to “react”.
The European Union condemned Friday night “the atrocities committed by the Russian armed forces and their auxiliaries”in a statement by its head of diplomacy, Josep Borrell, targeting the bombing of the prison and the accusations of torture and extortion of a Ukrainian prisoner, a video that has spread on social networks.
France, in a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stated “his horror at reports of murders and acts of torture against Ukrainian prisoners of war in the Olenivka detention center under the protection of the Russian Federation”and added that if necessary, those in charge should “respond to their actions”.
“They deserve a shameful death”
The tension over the fate of thousands of Ukrainian prisoners of war at the hands of the Russians or Donbass separatists was further exacerbated by a tweet on Friday evening from the Russian Embassy in the United Kingdom, specifically targeting the Ukrainian nationalist regiment Azov, who fought in Mariupol. “Azov fighters deserve to be killed, but not by firing squad, by hanging. They are not real soldiers. They deserve a shameful death”can we read this tweet in english.
Andriy Yermak, the chief of staff of the Ukrainian president, saw this as proof that Russia “a terrorist state”. “There is no difference between the Russian diplomats who called for the execution of prisoners of war in Ukraine and the Russian troops who did it in Olenivka. They are all complicit in these war crimes and must be held accountable.”for his part, Twitter described the spokesperson of Ukrainian diplomacy, Oleg Nikolenko.
Read this if they tell you that Russia should not be alone. There is no difference between Russian diplomats calling… https://t.co/IEqhi9yHjK
The Russian Investigative Committee announced the shooting in Olenivka on Friday, saying that Ukrainian forces had their own. “fired at the prison where members of the Azov battalion were held, using American projectiles from the Himars system”, high-precision multiple rocket launcher delivered to the United States. The Ukrainian general staff rejected these accusations, saying it was a question for Russian or separatist forces in “cover up the torture of prisoners and the murders” who used to be “made”.
Russia said on Saturday night that it had invited experts from the United Nations and the Red Cross to investigate the circumstances of the Olenivka prison bombing. In a press release, the Russian Ministry of Defense said that this initiative “in the interest of conducting an objective investigation”.