AFP: Moscow and Kyiv on Friday accused each other of bombing a jail holding Ukrainian prisoners of war in Russian-held territory, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky saying more than 50 were killed and calling the attack a war crime.
Russia’s defence ministry alleged that the strikes were carried out by Ukraine with US-supplied long-range missiles, in an “egregious provocation” designed to stop soldiers from surrendering.
It said that among the dead were Ukrainian forces that had laid down their arms after weeks of fighting off Russia’s brutal bombardment of the sprawling Azovstal steel works in Mariupol.
But Zelensky laid the blame squarely on Russia.
“This was a deliberate Russian war crime, a deliberate mass murder of Ukrainian prisoners of war,” Zelensky said in his daily address to the nation late Friday. “Over 50 are dead.”
Zelensky said an agreement for the Azovstal fighters to lay down their arms, brokered by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross, included guarantees for their health and safety and called on those two organizations to intervene, as guarantors.