Live: Russia invites UN, Red Cross experts to investigate Ukraine jail deaths

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Issued on: 31/07/2022 – 07:05

Russia on Sunday invited United Nations and Red Cross experts to probe the deaths of dozens of Ukrainian prisoners held by Moscow-backed separatists, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ordered the evacuation of residents in the eastern region of Donetsk. Follow FRANCE 24’s liveblog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).


7:31am: Five injured in drone attack on Russian fleet in Crimean port, governor says

A drone attack on the Russian fleet in the Crimean port of Sebastopol on Sunday injured five people, the governor of the Russian-annexed city Mikhail Razvozhayev said.

“This morning, Ukrainian nationalists decided to spoil the Day of the Russian Fleet” celebrated in Russia on Sunday, he said on Telegram, adding that five people, including employees of the army staff, were injured.

6:50am: Russia invites UN, Red Cross experts to investigate Ukraine jail deaths

Russia invited experts from the UN and Red Cross to investigate the deaths “in the interests of conducting an objective investigation”, the defence ministry said on Sunday.

The ministry had published a list of 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war killed and 73 wounded in what it said was a Ukrainian military strike with a US-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).

Ukraine’s armed forces denied responsibility, saying Russian artillery had targeted the prison to hide mistreatment there. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Friday Russia had committed a war crime and called for international condemnation. Reuters journalists confirmed some of the deaths at the prison, but could not immediately verify the differing versions of events.

The UN had said it was prepared to send experts to investigate if it obtained consent from both parties. The International Committee of the Red Cross said it was seeking access and had offered to help evacuate the wounded.

6:33am: Zelensky urges evacuation of Donetsk

Ukraine’s president urged civilians on Saturday to evacuate the frontline Donetsk region, the scene of fierce clashes with the Russian military.

President Volodymyr Zelensky warned in his daily address that thousands of people, including children, were still in the region’s battleground areas, with six civilians killed and 15 wounded on Friday, according to the Donetsk governor.

“There’s already a governmental decision about obligatory evacuation from Donetsk,” Zelensky said, repeating authorities’ calls to leave the besieged region in recent weeks.

© France Médias Monde graphic studio

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP and REUTERS)