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UN’s mooted mission to Yelenovka depends on decision of Russian Defense Ministry

Andrey Rudenko noted that battles were currently underway in the vicinity of Yelenovka "making it impossible to provide a safe visit of this region"

MOSCOW, November 2. /TASS/. The Russian Defense Ministry is ready to greenlight the UN mission bound to Yelenovka but it should depend on the current state of the situation, primarily in the sphere of security issues, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko said on Wednesday.

"The Defense Ministry has first say in this regard and it should determine when that moment comes, first of all, taking security issues into account," he said speaking to journalists commenting on a possible UN mission.

Rudenko also said that battles are currently underway in the vicinity of Yelenovka "making it impossible to provide a safe visit of this region."

He stressed that Russia still stood for UN experts’ visit to the pre-trial detention center, located in Yelenovka.

Representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) announced in mid-October that they were ready to visit all prisoners of war, who were being held in the Yelenovka pre-trial detention facility near Donetsk.

"We keep holding firm on our previously-voiced stance that we have never objected to a visit of this mission and, on the contrary, spoke in favor of its visit here, in order for the missions to come up with a just and unbiased image of all developments," Rudenko said. "We should all wait for an answer from the [Russian] Defense Ministry."

According to a report from the ICRC (the International Committee of the Red Cross) last month, its representatives had been ready to visit the detainees in Yelenovka "for months," but "to this day it does not have at the same time both the minimal security guarantees on the ground and the local authorization to conduct a visit."

The Russian Defense Ministry said earlier that UN and ICRC experts were officially invited to participate in the investigation of the strike by the armed forces of Ukraine on the detention center in Yelenovka, which took place on July 29 and killed 50 Ukrainian prisoners of war. A total of 73 detainees and eight wardens were injured.