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Day 162 Roundup: UN to Investigate Blast That Killed Ukrainian POWs; US Senate Backs Finland and Sweden's NATO Bids

Facts

  • Following requests from both Russia and Ukraine, the UN has confirmed it will conduct a 'fact-finding mission' into the deaths of Ukrainian POWs killed at the Olenivko prison barracks in territory controlled by pro-Russia separatists in Donetsk on Jul. 29. The UN's António Guterres said the agency didn't have the authority to conduct a criminal investigation, but that it was currently agreeing the terms of reference for a probe with both countries.
  • Russia alleges the attack – in which 53 prisoners were killed and 75 more were injured – was a result of Ukraine's deployment of US-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS). Meanwhile, Ukraine alleges that Donetsk separatists collaborated with Russian intelligence, and mercenary group Wagner, to mine the prison before "using a flammable substance, which led to the rapid spread of fire in the room."
  • Meanwhile, unnamed US intelligence officials told the media that they believe Russia is working to fabricate evidence from the attack, claiming, without evidence, that the Kremlin may seek to plant ammunition fragments from other HIMARS attacks.

Sources

Spin

Pro-establishment narrative

Putin has sorely miscalculated with this invasion. Western nations have shown exceptional resilience and solidarity in response to Russia's assault on democracy and the geopolitical power balance in Europe. It is very unlikely the Kremlin will retaliate against Finland and Sweden joining NATO, especially as it's reckless attack on Ukraine has decimated its military resources.

Establishment-critical narrative

Sweden and Finland's decision to join NATO wouldn't be without risks. Despite the rapid evolution of public opinion there isn't clear majority support for the move in either nation and even an immediate application could take months to process, leaving them vulnerable to a strike by an enraged Vladimir Putin.

Nerd narrative

There is a 14% chance that Putin and Zelenskyy will meet to discuss the peaceful resolution of the Russian-Ukraine conflict before 2023, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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