According to Russian information, most of the fighters from the besieged Azovstal steelworks in the Ukrainian port of Mariupol have now surrendered. In the past 24 hours alone, more than 770 Ukrainians have been captured there, the Defense Ministry in Moscow said on Thursday.
This means that 1730 fighters have surrendered since the beginning of the week. It was unclear how many people were still on the factory premises. According to earlier Russian information, there should be a few hundred more.
The Ukrainian side did not initially confirm the numbers. At the beginning of the week, Kyiv spoke of a little more than 260 evacuated soldiers and then only announced that the “humanitarian operation” would continue. Looking at the numbers now published by Russia, a complete conquest of Mariupol could become apparent after almost three months of war.
Russia, together with pro-Russian separatists, surrounded and largely conquered the strategically important city on the Azov Sea shortly after the start of the war of aggression against the neighboring country in early March. The Ukrainian militants, entrenched in the spacious premises of the steel mill, became Mariupol’s last defenders.
According to Russian estimates, around 2,500 soldiers were still in the plant before the evacuation mission began.