The Ukrainian military left their hiding places and surrendered after receiving a “signal” from Kyiv, Zelensky said. The Ukrainian leader added that now they have to wait for the exchange in one format or another *
Ukrainian forces stationed at the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, received a “signal” from the command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine about the right to “go out and save your life”, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with the TV channel “Ukraine 24”.
According to the head of Ukraine, everything will depend on the obligations assumed by the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Russia, who promised that the surrendered military would be safe to wait for “this or that format of exchange.”
Zelensky also said that Kyiv was in talks with partners to provide weapons that could allow Ukrainian forces to break through to the Mariupol plant. He added that many Ukrainian pilots died while trying to get to Azovstal. According to the president, it was planned to deliver medicines and food to the plant by air.
“A lot of things happened that no one could officially comment on. Air corridors to “Azovstal” was not due to the powerful Russian air defense,»,— Zelensky emphasized.
RBC sent a request to the press service of the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Ukrainian servicemen held the defense of Mariupol for almost 90 days. For most of this period, they were at Azovstal, whose area is 11 square meters. km, or about 1/15 of the entire city. Together with the military, civilians were hiding at the plant.
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In early May, Moscow and Kyiv evacuated civilians from the plant to the territory controlled by the Ukrainian authorities, as well as to the Lugansk and Donetsk republics. The process took place under the control of the UN and the Red Cross. In mid-May, from the territory of “Azovstal” the military began to be evacuated; The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense reported on the hospitalization of the seriously wounded in Olenivka and Novoazovsk. Both settlements are under the control of the DPR.
Zelensky then indicated that “Ukraine needs Ukrainian heroes alive” and expressed the hope that Kyiv would be able to return the military. Earlier, he threatened to stop negotiations with Russia to resolve the conflict if the defenders of Mariupol were killed.
On the evening of May 20, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced the establishment of full control over Mariupol, including over the territory of Azovstal. “The underground facilities of the enterprise, in which the militants were hiding, came under the complete control of the Russian armed forces,” — Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to President Vladimir Putin. He added that 2,439 Ukrainian soldiers had surrendered since May 16.