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Russia, Ukraine trade blame after strikes kill dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war



Ukraine has accused Russia of atrocities and brutality against civilians during since its February 24 invasion and said it has identified more than 10,000 possible war crimes. Russia denies targeting civilians.

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Ukraine’s military intelligence said Thursday’s prison strike was a “deliberate act of terrorism”. The domestic security agency said it had intercepted phone calls which point to Russia being responsible.

Ukraine’s armed forces general staff said the prison attack was an attempt to shift blame.

“In this way, the Russian occupiers pursued their criminal goals – to accuse Ukraine of committing ‘war crimes’, as well as to hide the torture of prisoners and executions,” it said.

Russia has denied involvement in war crimes, accused Kyiv of staging them to smear its forces and said it is investigating Ukrainian war crimes.

A spokesman for the Moscow-backed separatists told journalists in Olenivka that Ukraine had attacked after the prisoners of war had begun talking about crimes conducted by the Ukrainian military.

“The political leadership of Ukraine decided to use US-produced multiple-launch rocket systems HIMARS to carry out a strike here to veil the crimes that the Ukrainian captives started talking about,” spokesman Eduard Basturin said.

There was no way to immediately verify either of the two versions of events.

Separately, Ukraine said at least five people had been killed and seven wounded in a Russian missile strike on the southeastern city of Mykolaiv, a river port just off the Black Sea, as Russia fired across frontlines in eastern and southern Ukraine.

Russia did not immediately comment on the situation.

Reuters

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