Claims of new Russian atrocity after gruesome image appears to show the head of a Ukrainian POW stuck on a pole

Claims of new Russian atrocity after gruesome image appears to show the head of a Ukrainian POW stuck on a pole
In this photo taken from video a view of a destroyed barrack at a prison in Olenivka, in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatist forces, eastern Ukraine, Friday, July 29, 2022.AP
  • A new image posted by Ukrainian officials appear to show the skull of a Ukrainian soldier impaled on a stick.
  • The news comes recently after prison was bombed in Olenivka in the Donetsk Region, killing 53 POWs.

A new image posted 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 town of Popasna, which was captured by Russian forces in May.

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

Geolocation tools suggest it is genuine, said The Guardian, 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, in uniform without its hands. Two hands have been placed on metal spikes on a fence on either side of the head, a video shows, reported The Guardian.

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


Popsana is in the Luhansk region in 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 retreated from the town in early May. The president of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, claimed his troops had seized control of the town, per The Guardian.

Allegations of the new atrocity follow the shelling of the Olenivka prison housing Ukrainian prisoners of war. Russia and Ukraine blaming the other party.

Photos from the shelling show burnt corpses and skeletal remains.

According to a prisoner recently released from the Olenivka detention center outside Donetsk, Ukrainian POWs are tortured and murdered.

"We heard their cries," Anna Vorosheva told The Guardian. "They played loud music to cover the screams. Torture happened all the time."

Claims of new Russian atrocity after gruesome image appears to show the head of a Ukrainian POW stuck on a pole
The aftermath of a shelling at a pre-trial detention center in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict, in the settlement of Olenivka in the Donetsk Region, Ukraine July 29, 2022.REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

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

A Ukrainian MP told Insider, "I wish I could turn back time and not see this video. But we knew that this was happening in the occupied territories. The Russian military rapes, mutilates, and kills Ukrainians, both civilians, and POWs."

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 complete 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 laws with its wartime tactics, according to reports.

The group said Ukrainian forces had established military outposts in schools, hospitals, and civilian areas, in contravention of international human rights laws.


Oksana Pokalchuk, head of Amnesty International Ukraine, said in a Facebook post late Friday that the report "became a tool of Russian propaganda," per Politico.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyyslammed the report and said it had sought to offer "amnesty (to) the terrorist state and shift the responsibility from the aggressor to the victim."

Secretary General Agnes Callamard told AFP news agency that Amnesty "fully stands by our research."