After weeks of siege, about 260 Ukrainian soldiers left the Azov steel mills in Mariupol. On Monday, the Ukrainian General Staff said that 53 of them were seriously injured Facebook With. 211 Ukrainian soldiers who were evacuated from steel mills were transferred to a town occupied by Russian forces. She added that they were later released in a prisoner exchange. The evacuation of the other defenders of the Azovstal Steel Company is still ongoing.
“Thanks to the defenders of Mariupol, we have had a critical time to form the reserve forces, redeploy the forces and receive assistance from our partners,” Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malgar wrote on Facebook. All missions to defend Mariupol have been completed. She emphasized that Azovstal could not have fought freely. The most important thing now is to protect the lives of the defenders of Mariupol.
It added that the seriously injured were taken to the city of Novoazovsk, which is controlled by the pro-Russian separatists, for medical treatment. The remaining soldiers will go to Olenivka. The Russian Defense Ministry had earlier spoken of a ceasefire for the evacuation. It is said that several hundred soldiers are still in the steel mills.
In his daily video address, President Volodymyr Zelensky emphasized that Ukraine needs its heroes alive. In addition to the Ukrainian authorities, the International Red Cross and the United Nations also participated in the evacuation of soldiers from steel plants.
The port city of Mariupol was besieged shortly after the Russian invasion in February. The strategically important city was subjected to heavy bombardment and missile attacks. Experts and the Ukrainian authorities estimate the deaths of thousands of civilians. Russian forces gradually gained control after the siege. However, the last Ukrainian defenders of the city are holed up in the huge steel mills that have several floors underground.
And the Russian troops did not risk an attempt to storm, but closed all the entrances. The head of the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin, instructed his army in front of the camera: “Block this industrial zone so that a fly does not go out.” The area was repeatedly bombed. Hundreds of civilians who also fled to the steel mills from advancing Russian forces had already been evacuated from the factory premises in the past few days.
Lengthy negotiations took place over the withdrawal of the soldiers, some of whom were seriously wounded, with no supplies or water left. In Ukraine, there were also accusations against the government in Kyiv that it had abandoned the last defenders of Mariupol. The authorities have repeatedly stressed that they are unable to solve the siege imposed on the Russian forces.
In the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday The singer of the Ukrainian Kalush Philharmonic Orchestra, Oleh Psjuk, invited the help of Ukraine, Mariupol and Azovstal after the performance. The Kalush Orchestra won the ESC thanks to the unprecedented support from TV viewers. The group returned to Ukraine on Monday.
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