After weeks of blockade, around 260 Ukrainian soldiers have left the Azov steelworks in Mariupol, according to the authorities. They are to be taken to territory occupied by Russian troops and later return in a prisoner exchange, the Ukrainian general staff said on Facebook on Monday.

53 seriously injured were taken to Novoazovsk and 211 other soldiers to Olenivka on Monday for treatment, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense said.

Russia earlier announced on Monday that after days of negotiations, the Russian and Ukrainian military had agreed to evacuate injured fighters from the Mariupol steelworks. The Ministry of Defense in Moscow announced that a ceasefire was in place and a humanitarian corridor would be opened.

The government in Kyiv had always demanded that the injured be transferred to the area controlled by Ukraine or to a third country. Already in the morning, pro-Russian separatists reported that the first Ukrainian fighters had surrendered and left the steelworks with white flags. This was later denied by the Ukrainian side. On Sunday, Ukraine accused Russia of attacking the steel plant with phosphorus bombs.