Espreso. Global

Drank coffee and mocked wounded: Ukrainians tell OSCE about massacre in Olenivka

6 March, 2024 Wednesday

Ukrainians told the OSCE representatives about the crimes of Russia in detail. Community of Olenivka Families and former prisoner of war Ostap Shved met with delegates from different countries in Austria

Relatives of Ukrainian soldiers are asking the international community to influence the return of prisoners and investigate the terrorist attack that took place in July 2022.

One of the participants in the meeting in Austria was the wife of a captured soldier who was seriously wounded in the attack in Olenivka, a representative of the Olenivka Family Community Maria Alekseevych. She told Espreso that their goal was to convey that the whole world should unite in the fight against the Moscow regime, while international organisations are currently inactive.

"This trip was supported by the Media Initiative for Human Rights, with which we cooperate. At the meetings, I emphasised that international organisations are inactive, and we need all OSCE participating states and the whole world to unite to bring back the people who survived this terrible terrorist attack. And most importantly, we need this war crime to be investigated and the perpetrators to be punished," says Alekseevych.

During their visit to Austria, representatives of the Ukrainian delegation took part in an OSCE event dedicated to the Olenivka terrorist attack and held many private meetings with several representatives of OSCE delegations, namely Ireland, Canada, the United States and Malta. They mostly talked about torture in captivity, the killing of soldiers, and the fact that Russia completely disregards the norms of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War.

First-hand stories of captivity and torture

Ostap Shved, a combat medic of the 12th Azov Brigade, National Guard, spoke about his time in captivity, which lasted almost a year. The soldier was exchanged in May 2023. Shved was also among those brought to the execution barrack in Olenivka. There he received shrapnel wounds. However, after the attack, Ostap was not sent for treatment.

"He told me about how they tried to provide first aid to each other, using T-shirts to stop the bleeding. He emphasised that the guards did not provide any help for several hours, and the administration of the colony, when the wounded got out of the barracks, drank coffee and laughed," Alekseevych recalled.

She hopes that the meeting with the OSCE representatives and what she heard from the prisoner of war, who went through a real hell, will have at least some result. The foreigners listened sincerely to the defender, were shocked and even cried. In the end, they promised to take certain steps to establish control over the places where our military and civilians are held in captivity. 

"However, we do not have too high hopes. Unfortunately, the situation is such that the international community generally ignores the facts of Russian war crimes and the fact that Russia is constantly torturing our military. Ostap also spoke about the conditions of detention in Taganrog, as he was transferred there after the attack. And there was simply inhuman torture. During his stay, two prisoners of war died of torture and because they were not provided with medical care," the woman adds.

The meeting with Yermak and Budanov has not yet brought any results

Activists have not heard from representatives of the international community what they will do step by step. The Ukrainians were only told that they were not alone and promised to get information about people who are still in captivity. 

"Even if there is no significant result, the world cannot be allowed to forget about Ukraine and the terrorist attack in Olenivka. Especially since thousands of our military and civilians are still in captivity," Alekseevych said.

In addition, the Community needs the help of the Ukrainian state to raise awareness of the attack in Olenivka internationally. 

"Earlier we had a meeting with Yermak and Budanov. We asked for assistance to show the horrific consequences of the war abroad, namely the horrific war crime in Olenivka. But so far, there has been no result after that meeting. Now we are going to appeal to the Ukrainian authorities again and ask for help, because we cannot attend meetings with other governments or other important meetings on our own. We want to go to those countries that have been actively involved in prisoner of war exchanges in the past, but we need the assistance of official state authorities," summed up the representative of the Olenivka Family Community.

For reference.

Russia's terrorist attack on prison barracks occurred on the night of July 29, 2022 on the territory of the former penal colony No. 210 in the village of Olenivka in the temporarily occupied territory of Donetsk region. A powerful explosion occurred in the building where Ukrainian prisoners of war were held. At the time, Russian propaganda media reported that 50 Ukrainian defenders were killed, and 70 others were seriously injured. As previously reported by the Olenivka Family Community, the fate of 63 people is known for certain, while there is no information about the others, and there is no contact with those who are still in captivity.

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