Russia says 771 extra Ukrainian troops ‘surrendered’ at Mariupol steelworks | Ukraine

Russia has mentioned an extra 771 Ukrainian troops have “surrendered” at Mariupol’s besieged Azovstal steelworks, bringing the entire quantity to 1,730 fighters this week, whereas the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) mentioned it has began registering the Ukrainian prisoners of conflict who left the plant this week.

The Russian defence ministry mentioned that 80 troopers who surrendered prior to now day had been wounded and had been being handled in hospitals within the Russian-held cities of Novoazovsk and Donetsk. Russia’s international ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, mentioned on Wednesday that greater than 900 Azovsteel troops had been despatched to a former jail colony within the city of Olenivka however it was not instantly clear the place the most recent group to give up had gone.

Ukraine has not commented on the evacuation of the troopers since Tuesday, when Ukraine’s deputy defence minister acknowledged that the troopers could be swapped in a prisoner change, with out offering additional particulars.

It can be not clear what number of troopers stay contained in the plant.

Denis Pushilin, the pinnacle of the self-proclaimed republic of Donetsk, mentioned on Thursday that greater than half the Ukrainian fighters within the bunkers under the Azovstal metal plant have surrendered.

Pushilin additionally repeated statements made earlier by different Russian officers that the troopers ought to be tried.

“Let them surrender, let them live, let them honestly face the charges for all their crimes,” Pushilin mentioned.

The Kremlin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, earlier assured the combatants could be handled in keeping with worldwide norms for POWs, although a number of senior Russian lawmakers demanded they be placed on trial and one even known as for his or her execution.

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has not publicly commented on the destiny of the troopers since their evacuation began on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the ICRC mentioned it has registered “hundreds of Ukrainian prisoners of war” this week from the Azovstal plant.

“The ICRC started on Tuesday 17 May to register combatants leaving the Azovstal plant, including the wounded, at the request of the parties. The operation continued Wednesday and was still ongoing Thursday. The ICRC is not transporting POWs to the places where they are held,” the Geneva-based humanitarian company, which has expertise in working with prisoners of conflict, mentioned in an announcement.

“In accordance with the mandate given to the ICRC by states under the 1949 Geneva conventions, the ICRC must have immediate access to all POWs in all places where they are held. The ICRC must be allowed to interview prisoners of war without witnesses, and the duration and frequency of these visits should not be unduly restricted,” the company added.

Several Russian retailers and pro-Kremlin telegram channels reporter on Thursday that some Ukrainian troopers from the Azovstal plant have already been transported exterior of Donbas to Russian territories.

According to 161, an area information outlet, 89 Ukrainian troopers have been transferred to a detainment facility within the Russian border metropolis of Taganrog the place they may face extremism costs in army court docket for preventing within the Azov regiment, one of many primary forces defending the steelworks.

Readovka, an outlet with hyperlinks to the Kremlin, mentioned that the deputy commander of the Azov regiment, Cptn Svyatoslav Palamar, who through the siege of the plant made a number of video appeals urging world leaders to organise an evacuation, was transported to the Russian metropolis of Rostov. The Guardian was not in a position to independently confirm each claims.

The Azov regiment was shaped in 2014 as a volunteer militia to struggle Russia-backed forces in east Ukraine, and plenty of of its unique members had far-right extremist views. Since then, the unit has been built-in into the Ukrainian nationwide guard and the regiment now denies being fascist, racist or neo-Nazi. The Azov motion has been used as a key a part of the Russian propaganda narrative to justify the conflict in Ukraine.

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Next week, Russia’s supreme court docket will hear an software to designate Ukraine’s Azov regiment as a “terrorist organisation”, opening the way in which for sentences of as much as 20 years for these convicted of involvement.

Experts imagine {that a} trial of the Ukrainian troops, described by the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, as “heroes”, would additional complicate efforts to renew the stalled peace negotiations.

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