Of the total 265 Ukrainian soldiers, who surrendered at Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, 51 were ‘heavily wounded’ and had been transferred to a hospital in the town of Novoazovsk, Russia’s defence ministry said
Russia’s defence ministry on Tuesday that 265 Ukrainian soldiers of which 51 several wounded surrendered at the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Ukraine’s port city of Mariupol.
“Over the past 24 hours, 265 militants laid down their arms and surrendered, including 51 heavily wounded,” the ministry said in a briefing.
It added that those in need of medical care were transferred to a hospital in the town of Novoazovsk.
In April, Moscow claimed control of Mariupol after a weeks-long siege, but hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers remained holed up in underground tunnels beneath the huge Azovstal industrial zone, blocked by Russian troops.
Ukraine’s defence ministry late on Monday said that 264 Ukrainian fighters were evacuated to Russia-controlled territory.
Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister Ganna Malyar said they were moved through humanitarian corridors to areas under Moscow and Russia-backed separatists’ control.
“An exchange procedure will be carried out for their further return home,” Malyar added.
The Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol had become a symbol of resistance, with around 600 soldiers holed up in underground tunnels and bunkers fighting a rear-guard battle to prevent Russian troops taking full control of the strategically located city.
The Ukrainian army said in Mariupol, the soldiers had “performed their combat task” and the main goal now was to “save the lives of personnel”.
“By holding the steelworks, they stopped Russian forces from rapidly capturing the southern city of Zaporizhzhia, a statement by Ukrainian army on Facebook said.
Despite the resources of its giant neighbour, Ukraine has managed to repel the Russian army for longer than many expected, fortified by weapons and cash from Western allies.
The latest example of this came Monday, when Ukraine’s defence ministry announced its troops had regained control of territory on the Russian border near the country’s second-largest city of Kharkiv, which has been under constant attack.
Russia began invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, 2022, hours after President Vladimir Putin announced ‘special military operation’.
With inputs from agencies
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