Estonian politicians condemn Olenivka prison attack

Kaja Kallas,
Kaja Kallas, Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) on Friday condemned a missile strike on a correctional facility in eastern Ukraine which held Ukrainian prisoners of war saying it "replays the darkest chapters of history".

Over 100 Ukrainian captives were being held at the facility in Olenivka, in Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine, and 53 were killed, the Kyiv Independent reported.

Soldiers who fought at the Azovstal metal plant in Mariupol were being held there, the website said.

Russia and Ukraine have blamed each other for the rocket attack. Estonian politicians pinned the blame firmly on Russia.

Kallas called the crimes "brutal and heinous" and said there must be no impunity for war crimes or a return to relations with war criminals.

"The mass murder in Olenivka against Ukrainian prisoners of war replays the darkest chapters of history," she wrote on social media.

President Alar Karis and Minster of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) also condemned the crimes.

"This absolutely horrific shelling is beyond apprehension and another proof that Russia does not care about human lives or international law but continues with war crimes," Karis wrote.

"[Y]et another heinous crime we can add to Russia's very long list. Russia has proved to us one again that they have no regard to international humanitarian law," Reinsalu said.

Ukraine said the prison was targeted by Russia trying to destroy evidence of torture and killing, while Russia said it was hit by Ukrainian precision rockets, the BBC reported.

Ukraine's Prosecutor-General Andriy Kostin said he had opened a war crimes investigation into the blast. His office added that it believed about 40 people were killed in the strike and 130 were injured.

Sadistic. Inhumane. Brutal. Cowardice.

Earlier this week, Reinsalu condemned a video circulating on social media of a Russian soldier torturing a Ukrainian prisoner of war as "Sadistic. Inhumane. Brutal. Cowardice."

Chairman of the Riigikogu's Foreign Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson said the act was another reason why Russia should be declared a terrorist state.

MEP Riho Teras (Isamaa) said the action was "beyond sickening or animalistic".

"Russia isn't just a terrorist state, it's an anti-humanity state. The West must back Ukraine more to end this," he wrote.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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