Alyona Mazurenko - Friday, 20 May 2022, 21:52
The Russian Ministry of Defence has stated that all Ukrainian fighters have been evacuated from Azovstal as of 20 May: a total of 2,439 defenders of Ukraine. Russian Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu has reported this to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Source: Kremlin-aligned Russian news agency RIA Novosti
Details: The Russian Ministry of Defence has stated that 2,439 Azov fighters and other Ukrainian defenders encircled at Azovstal have "laid down their arms and surrendered" during the operation since 16 May.
At the same time, Russian aggressors call the Ukrainian defenders "Nazis."
531 defenders allegedly left Azovstal on May 20.
Russian Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu reported to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the completion of the operation and the complete "liberation" of Azovstal and the city of Mariupol from Ukrainian defenders.
The aggressors reported that "the plant's bunkers have now come under the full control of the Russian armed forces."
In addition, Russia said that the Azov commander was taken out of the steelworks in a special armoured car because allegedly "Mariupol residents hate him and want to finish him off."
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that the operation for the safe evacuation of the Mariupol defenders had been carried out with the participation of Western partners. The details of this operation have not been disclosed to the public.
Zelenskyy warned that the evacuation from Azovstal was almost complete.
Azov fighters have been leaving the bunkers of the Azovstal plant since 16 May: the seriously wounded were taken to the hospitals in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts (CADLR), while others have been detained and interrogated by the Russians. The fate of the fallen heroes is unknown.
The Ukrainian party has barely commented on the rescue operation for the Mariupol garrison, with the authorities only confirming the order to save the lives of military personnel besieged by the Russians at Azovstal steelworks.
Denys Prokopenko, the commander of the Azov National Guard Regiment of Ukraine, reported that the severely wounded fighters from the "Azovstal" plant had received medical care and would be taken to Ukrainian-controlled territory, and that "the process is ongoing" regarding the deceased defenders of Mariupol.
Mariupol has been under the siege of Russian troops since 1 March. Since the end of April, the defenders of Mariupol have been encircled at the Azovstal steelworks: representatives of the Azov National Guard Regiment, marines, border guards, and police. They asked the world to be rescued: the Marines requested an "extraction" operation, while the Azov fighters asked to at least evacuate wounded soldiers.