Ukraine has labelled Russia a “terrorist state” after Moscow’s UK embassy tweeted that Ukrainian Azov battalion soldiers deserved a “humiliating death” by hanging.
On Friday July 29, reports emerged that more than 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war (POWs) held by Russia were killed in an airstrike. Russia accuses Ukraine of being responsible for the attack whwhilUkraine has claimed Russia carried out the attacks on Olenivka prison in Russian-held eastern Ukraine.
The attack also killed Azov and nationalistic soldiers who Russia has alleged are Nazis, and used that as a basis to launch an invasion of Ukraine, claiming they want to de-nazify Ukraine. Azov troops were forced to lay down weapons in May after fiercely defending for weeks Azovstal, a giant steelworks in the south-eastern port of Mariupol that was eventually captured by Russia.
After the attack the Russian embassy in the UK tweeted that Azov “militants deserve execution, but death not by firing squad but by hanging, because they’re not real soldiers. They deserve a humiliating death”.
The tweet included a video clip showing a couple in a wrecked building, accusing Azov troops of having shelled their home. The embassy’s call for execution repeats what the man in the video says.
Twitter acknowledged that the post from the Russian embassy violated the social media company’s “rules about hateful conduct” – but didn’t delete the tweet adding that it may be in the public interest to keep it accessible
Andriy Yermak, Ukrainian presidential chief of staff, wrote on Telegram that “Russia is a terrorist country”.
“In the 21st Century, only savages and terrorists can say at a diplomatic level that people deserve to be executed by hanging for nothing. The RF [Russia] is a state sponsor of terrorism. What more proof do you need?” he said.
Ukraine has called for the United Nations and Red Cross to be allowed to investigate the deaths at Olenivka.
Ukraine says the site was targeted by Russia in an effort to destroy evidence of torture and killing. President Volodymyr Zelensky described the incident as a “deliberate Russian war crime”.
Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko tweeted: “There is no difference between Russian diplomats calling for execution of Ukrainian prisoners of war and Russian troops doing it in Olenivka.
“They are all accomplices in these war crimes and must be held accountable.”