900 Ukrainian soldiers forced to surrender to their Russian counterparts in Azovstal

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More than 900 Ukrainian troops who were at Mariupol’s besieged Azovstal steel plant have been sent to a prison colony on Russian-controlled territory.

A foreign ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, said on Wednesday evening that of the 959 Ukrainian service personnel Russia said had surrendered since Tuesday, 51 were being treated for their injuries and the remainder had been sent to a former prison colony in the town of Olenivka in a Russian-controlled area of Donetsk region.

Russia’s defence ministry also released videos on Wednesday of what it said were Ukrainian fighters receiving hospital treatment in the Russian-controlled town of Novoazovsk after surrendering at the besieged Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol.

In the videos, a group of men were shown lying on beds in a room, and two spoke briefly to the camera. In one, a soldier said he was being treated “normally”, adding that he was not being psychology pressured. It was not possible to establish if the soldier was speaking freely.

Zakharova told journalists all the wounded Azovstal soldiers “will be provided with qualified medical care”.

Ukraine has not commented on Russia’s latest update. In his address to the nation late on Tuesday, the president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy Zakharova said an “evacuation mission” was continuing with help from “the most influential international mediators”. It is also not clear how many remain inside the plant.

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