WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Even if the Ukrainian forces were behind the strike on the Elenovka detention facility housing Ukrainian prisoners of war in Donbass, “they did not mean to do that,” a senior US Defense Department official said on Friday.

“If it happened to be a Ukrainian strike, I promise you, number one – they didn’t mean to do that. They certainly care about their own people, and they care about the civilians and military, of their own army,” the official said during a press briefing.

The official said even though the Russian military presented some pieces of munition for the US-supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), which, according to Moscow were used to shell the detention facility, it does not necessarily mean that Ukraine is the one to blame since the Russian forces have some of them.

Earlier on Friday, a Sputnik correspondent reported that the Elenovka detention center housing Ukrainian prisoners of war was shelled by Ukrainian troops with HIMARS. Medical personnel and troops of the Emergencies Ministry are currently working at the site.

The correspondent reported that some of the wreckage contained serial numbers of HIMARS missiles.

Situation in Ukraine

Videos: Ukrainian Strike Kills 53 Ukrainian Prisoners of War in DPR, Donetsk Says

29 July, 10:30 GMT

The building of the detention center had been almost destroyed by a scorching fire, the correspondent reported, adding that Ukrainian militants detained there were almost burned to the ground with their bodies still lying at the site.

The territorial defense staff of the Donetsk People’s Republic said on Friday that the death toll from the strike on the detention center in Elenovka reached 53 people, and the number of wounded detainees surpassed 130.

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