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Ex-head of Russian jail charged over abuse of Olenivka prisoners

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk July 28, 2023 6:06 PM 2 min read
Serhii Yevsiukov (far-right), the former head of the Russian prison in Olenivka, Donetsk Oblast. (Source: So-called "justice ministry" of Russian occupation authorities in Donetsk Oblast)
This audio is created with AI assistance

The ex-head of the Russian prison in the occupied village of Olenivka, Donetsk Oblast, and one of his subordinates have been charged over physical, sexual, and psychological abuse of Ukrainian soldiers imprisoned there, Ukraine's Prosecutor General's Office reported on July 28.

Serhii Yevsiukov, the former head of the prison, worked in Ukrainian law enforcement before Russia's partial occupation of Donetsk Oblast in 2014, according to the Kyiv Independent's sources.

The charges also concern another employee of the prison, Kyrylo Shakurov. According to the Kyiv Independent's sources, he worked in one of the prisons of the city of Horlivka, Donetsk Oblast, before the partial occupation of the region in 2014.

The former head of the prison and his subordinate cruelly mistreated the prisoners and violated the norms of international humanitarian law, the prosecutors said.

The two Ukrainian citizens who collaborated with Russian occupation authorities are suspected of using psychological, physical, and sexual violence against at least 100 prisoners of war, according to the report.

Kyrylo Shakurov, the junior inspector of the Olenivka prison's supervision department. (Source:

"The purpose of these acts was the systematic humiliation of prisoners for participating in resistance against the invasion of Ukraine," the prosecutors said.

According to the prosecutors, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and the police are conducting a pre-trial investigation of the alleged perpetrators. They were charged with violating the laws and customs of war.

How Russian soldiers shared evidence of their own war crime
Editor’s note: This story is the first account of the Kyiv Independent’s contributor, Anthony Bartaway, who witnessed Russian shelling targeting volunteers during relief efforts following the destruction of the Kakhovka dam and the ensuing devastating flooding in Kherson Oblast. After Russian force…

Between July 28 and 29, 2022, an explosion in Russian-occupied Olenivka killed over 50 Ukrainian prisoners and injured 75 more. Kyiv called this a deliberate Russian war crime.

Ukrainian authorities said that days before the attack the Russians had moved Ukrainian members of the Azov Regiment, who were captured in Mariupol and were awaiting a prisoner exchange, to a separate part of the prison building – the one that was destroyed.

According to Kyiv, Russia either hit the prison with artillery or blew it up from inside. Ukraine's Prosecutor General's Office said that Russia likely used a thermobaric munition at the Olenivka prison.

Russia has accused Ukraine of attacking the prison with HIMARS, a high-precision rocket system. Although the Russian authorities did not provide secure access to the U.N. mission to investigate the incident, High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said that, according to available information, the prison was not hit by a HIMARS missile.

On Jan. 12, the Ukrainian authorities said that they had retrieved the bodies of 54 prisoners killed in the Olenivka massacre in a transfer mediated by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

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