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Former prisoners at Ukraine jail cast doubt on Moscow’s account of deadly explosion

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Relatives and friends of the Azovstal iron and steel works soldiers hold a protest in Lviv about the Olenivka attack. Photo: Pavlo Palamarchuk/Reuters

Relatives and friends of the Azovstal iron and steel works soldiers hold a protest in Lviv about the Olenivka attack. Photo: Pavlo Palamarchuk/Reuters

Relatives and friends of the Azovstal iron and steel works soldiers hold a protest in Lviv about the Olenivka attack. Photo: Pavlo Palamarchuk/Reuters

Even before the deadly blast that killed at least 53 Ukrainian soldiers last week, the Olenivka prison in the country’s separatist-controlled eastern Donetsk province was known to human rights groups as a lawless place where pro-Russian forces hold civilians flagged as potential enemy “collaborators” and military prisoners of war.

Located just a few kilometres from the war’s front line, it has served as a detention facility for several thousand people brought from Mariupol after Russia captured that southern Ukrainian port city in May following a brutal and protracted siege.


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