Ukrainian Troops Surrender In Mariupol Steel Plant: Russia

On Tuesday, Russia reported that 265 Ukrainian soldiers, including a number of injured soldiers, had surrendered at the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine’s port city.

“Over the past 24 hours, 265 militants laid down their arms and surrendered, including 51 heavily wounded,” the defence ministry said.

Those who need medical attention were sent to a hospital in Novoazovsk, according to the government.

President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman did not respond to a question from reporters on Tuesday about whether the Ukrainian soldiers will be punished as war criminals or prisoners of war.

Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, said Mr. Putin “guaranteed that they would be treated in accordance with the relevant international laws.”

Separately, Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament, stated that “Nazi criminals should not be subject to a prisoner exchange.”

While he did not specifically specify Azovstal, Moscow has previously stated that members of the Azov Battalion, which Russian authorities deem “Nazi,” are among the soldiers besieged at the steelworks.

“Regarding the Nazis, our position must remain unchanged: they are war criminals and we must do everything to bring them to justice,” Volodin said on messaging app Telegram.

Late Monday, Ukraine’s defence ministry announced that 264 Ukrainian combatants, including 53 “heavily wounded” personnel, had been evacuated to Russia-controlled territory.

Ganna Malyar, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister, said they would be subjected to a “exchange procedure.”

Hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers were holed up in underground tunnels beneath the massive Azovstal industrial zone, surrounded by Russian troops, after Moscow gained control of Mariupol last month after a weeks-long siege.