February 9, 2023

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Russia on Sunday invited experts from the United Nations and the Red Cross to investigate the deaths of dozens of Ukrainian prisoners held by Moscow-backed separatists, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ordered the evacuation of residents in the eastern region of Donetsk . Follow FRANCE 24’s live blog for the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).

6:50 am: Russia invites UN, Red Cross experts to investigate deaths in prisons in Ukraine

Russia invited UN and Red Cross experts to investigate the dead “in the interest of an objective investigation,” the defense ministry said on Sunday.

The ministry had published a list of 50 Ukrainian POWs killed and 73 injured in a Ukrainian military attack with a US-made High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).

The Ukrainian armed forces denied responsibility, saying Russian artillery had attacked the prison to cover up the beatings there. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Friday that Russia had committed a war crime and called for international condemnation. Reuters journalists confirmed some of the deaths at the prison but were unable to immediately verify the different versions of the events.

The UN had said it would be willing to send experts to investigate whether it would get approval from both sides. The International Committee of the Red Cross said it sought entry and offered to help evacuate the wounded.

6:33 a.m.: Zelensky urges Donetsk . evacuation

The Ukrainian president on Saturday urged civilians to evacuate the frontline of Donetsk, the scene of fierce clashes with the Russian army.

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President Volodymyr Zelensky warned in his daily speech that thousands of people, including children, were still in the region’s battlefields, with six civilians killed and 15 injured on Friday, according to the Donetsk governor.

“There is already a government decision on the mandatory evacuation from Donetsk,” said Zelensky, who in recent weeks reiterated that authorities should leave the besieged region.

© France Médias Monde graphic studio

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP and REUTERS)