Ukrainian prisoner of war skull stuck on pole image seems to show

  • A new image released by Ukrainian officials appears to show the skull of a Ukrainian soldier impaled on a stick.
  • The news comes recently after the prison was bombed at Olenivka in the Donetsk region, killing 53 prisoners of war.
  • This report contains details that some readers may find disturbing.

A new image released by a Ukrainian official appears to show the skull of a Ukrainian prisoner of war placed on a stick outside a building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Popasna, which was captured by Russian forces in May.

Serhiy Haidai, the governor of the Ukrainian province of Luhansk, shared the disturbing photo on his Telegram channel. Insider has not been able to independently verify the image.

Geolocation tools suggest it is genuine, The Guardian said, and the gruesome photo was taken in late July, not far from the center of Popasna.

Near the head are the remains of a decapitated body, uniformed and without hands. Two hands were placed on metal spikes in a fence on either side of the head, video shows, The Guardian reported.

“There is nothing human about the Russians. We are at war with non-humans,” Haidai said below the image.

Popsana is in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine, where Russia has fought hard to capture territory after its army was humiliated in the debacle of the first months of the invasion. The Ukrainian army withdrew from the city in early May. Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov claimed that his troops had taken control of the city, according to The Guardian.

Allegations of the new atrocity follow the bombing of the Olenivka prison that houses Ukrainian prisoners of war. Russia and Ukraine blaming the other side.

Photos of the bombing show burned corpses and skeletal remains.

According to a recently released prisoner from the Olenivka detention center on the outskirts of Donetsk, Ukrainian prisoners of war are tortured and killed.

“We heard their screams,” Anna Vorosheva told The Guardian. “They played loud music to cover up the screaming. The torture was going on all the time.”

The aftermath of a shelling of a pre-trial detention center in the course of the Ukraine-Russia conflict, in the Olenivka settlement in Donetsk region, Ukraine, July 29, 2022.

The aftermath of a shelling of a pre-trial detention center in the course of the Ukraine-Russia conflict, in the Olenivka settlement in Donetsk region, Ukraine, July 29, 2022.

REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko


Shortly after the attack, a video circulated on social media showing a Russian soldier castrating a Ukrainian prisoner.

A Ukrainian parliamentarian told Insider: “I wish I could go back in time and not watch this video. But we knew this was happening in the occupied territories. The Russian military rapes, mutilates and kills Ukrainians, both civilians and prisoners of war.” .

Responding to the footage, Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said: “This horrific assault is yet another apparent example of the utter disregard for human life and dignity in Ukraine committed by Russian forces.”

Meanwhile, the head of Amnesty International’s Ukraine arm has resigned after the human rights organization blamed Kyiv for endangering civilians and violating international law with its war tactics, according to reports.

The group said Ukrainian forces had set up military posts in schools, hospitals and civilian areas, in contravention of international human rights law.

Oksana Pokalchuk, director of Amnesty International Ukraine, said in a Facebook post on Friday night that the report “became a Russian propaganda tool,” according to Politico.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy criticized the report, saying it had sought to offer “amnesty (to) the terrorist state and shift responsibility from the aggressor to the victim”.

Secretary General Agnes Callamard told the AFP news agency that Amnesty International “fully supports our investigation”.

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