Ukrainian soldiers holding out at Mariupol steelworks have surrendered since Monday

Ukrainian soldiers holding on to the Mariupol steel mill have surrendered

 The Russian Ministry of Defense in Moscow reported that 2,439 Ukrainian soldiers who were holding out at the Mariupol steel plant had surrendered since Monday (16/5/2022). The Russian Defense Ministry said the last group of Ukrainian troops hiding in the Azovstal Mariupol steel plant had surrendered. Recorded more than 500 Ukrainian soldiers surrendered on Friday (20/5/2022). "The area of   the Azovstal metallurgical plant ... has been completely liberated," the ministry said in a statement. According to The Guardian, this marks the end of a weeks-long siege on the site. 

"The underground structures of the Azovstal where the insurgents are hiding are now under the complete control of the Russian armed forces," the ministry said in a statement. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has told President Vladimir Putin that Mariupol and the steel mill have been "completely liberated". The Pro-Kremlin telegram channel also released a video with Sergei Volynsky, unit commander of the 36th Marine Brigade, in which he said his unit had surrendered. The unit was one of the main forces maintaining the steel mill. 

Hours before Russia's announcement, President Volodymyr Zelensky said the fighters had been told by the Ukrainian military that they could go out and save their lives and that it was likely all of them would leave in the coming days. In a live video posted on Telegram, Denys Prokopenko, commander of the Azov regiment leading the defense of the factory, said only the dead remained. "The higher military command has given orders to save the lives of our garrison soldiers and to stop defending the city," he said. "I now hope that very soon, the family and all of Ukraine will be able to bury their fighters with honor." 

Russia previously said that more than 900 Ukrainian troops at the Mariupol-siege Azovstal steel plant had been sent to a prison colony in Russian-controlled territory. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the fighters would be treated in accordance with international norms for prisoners of war. Although several senior Russian politicians demanded they be tried and one even called for their execution .

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