The Defense Ministry released a video showing dozens of soldiers leaving the plant, some seen wounded and others using crutches.
- Breaking News War in Ukraine: Live
The Russian Defense Ministry indicated on Thursday that 1,730 Ukrainian troops have surrendered this week on the Azovstal pavement, the last bastion of resistance in the Mariupol port in southeastern Ukraine.
“In the last 24 hours, 771 fighters of the nationalist Azov regiment have surrendered,” the ministry said in its daily conflict report. “A total of 1,730 fighters have surrendered, including 80 wounded, since May 16,” he said.
The ministry released a video showing soldiers leaving the plant. some clearly injured And others use crutches. Russian soldiers patted them and inspected their backpacks as they left. The wounded were taken to a hospital in Russian-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine, while the healthy were transferred to a penal colony in the pro-Russian region of Donetsk.
Ukraine has indicated it will seek a prisoner exchange, but Moscow has not given a definitive answer to the question.
According to the Reuters agency report, the International Committee of the Red Cross registered all those who surrendered to pro-Russian forces, to ensure that their families could keep in touch with them after their capture.
“More than half the people have already left, more than half have laid down their arms,” the leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic Denis Pushilin told the Solovyov Live Internet television channel. ,Let them surrender, let them live, let them face the charges honestly for all their crimes.“, dijo Pushilin.
Ukrainian officials declined to comment publicly on the fate of the fighters, saying it could threaten rescue efforts.
President of Ukraine, Volodymyr ZelenskyFeaturing fighters, including soldiers from the Ukrainian Army and members of the Azov Battalion, as heroic defender of the fatherland against foreign occupiers. However, Russia maintains that the Azov Battalion, which began as a far-right nationalist paramilitary organization, is originally a group of anti-Russian nationalist fighters and portrays them as Nazis.
Asked about reports that 39-year-old Captain Svyatoslav Palmar, deputy commander of the Azov regiment, had surrendered, Pushilin declined to comment. Palmar told Reuters last month that his army They will fight as long as needed.,
The ultimate fate of the fighters is unclear. The Kremlin said he would be treated according to international standards, although some Russian lawmakers called for his trial and one demanded that he face the death penalty. The ICRC said the evacuation operation was continuing on Thursday and they were “not taking POWs to the places where they are being held”.
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