An additional 771 Ukrainian combatants have surrendered to Russian forces at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol over the past 24 hours, the Russian Defense Ministry reported on Thursday morning. This pushed the total number of captives from the stronghold up to 1,730 since Monday, the report said.
Azovstal served as the last bastion of Ukrainian forces in the key port city, which the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) claims as its territory. According to the Russian military, the prisoners were “militants from the nationalist unit Azov” and were transferred to locations in Novoazovsk and Donetsk, two DPR-controlled cities. Medical assistance is being given to the 80 wounded Ukrainian fighters, the update said.
The surrenders, which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ordered and later described as an evacuation allegedly taking place “thanks to” Ukrainian military and intelligence agents, are being monitored by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The aid organization gave a brief description of its involvement in a statement on Thursday.