Ukrainian POW’s Skull Stuck on Pole Image Appears to Show

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

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 city of Popasna, captured by Russian forces in May.

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

Geolocation tools suggest it’s real, The Guardian said, and the gruesome photo was taken in late July, not far from downtown Popasna.

Near the head are the remains of a decapitated body, in uniform without hands. Two hands have been placed on metal pegs on a fence on either side of the head, a 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 located in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine, where Russia has fought hard for territory after its army was humiliated during the debacle of the invasion’s early months. The Ukrainian army withdrew from the city in early May. Chechnya’s president, Ramzan Kadyrov, claimed his troops had taken control of the city, according to The Guardian.

Accusations of the new atrocity follow the shelling of the Olenivka prison where Ukrainian POWs are housed. Russia and Ukraine blame the other side.

Photos of the shelling show burnt corpses and skeletal remains.

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

“We heard their screams,” Anna Vorosheva told The Guardian. “They played loud music to muffle the screams. Torture happened all the time.”

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

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

REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko


Shortly 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 this was happening in the occupied territories. The Russian army is raping, maiming and killing Ukrainians, both civilians and prisoners of war.”

Commenting on the images, Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said: “This horrific attack is another clear example of complete disregard for human life and dignity in Ukraine, perpetrated by Russian troops.”

Meanwhile, the head of Amnesty International’s Ukraine branch has resigned after the human rights group blamed Kiev for endangering civilians and violating international laws with its war tactics, according to reports.

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

Oksana Pokalchuk, head of Amnesty International Ukraine, said in a Facebook post Friday that the report “became an instrument of Russian propaganda,” Politico said.

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

Secretary-General Agnes Callamard told AFP news agency that Amnesty “completely supports our investigation”.

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