Ukraine has now confirmed that hundreds of its fighters were trapped for more than two months in Mariupol Azovstal steelworks have been evacuated. Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar confirmed this, giving a statement in which 53 badly wounded soldiers were taken to the town of Novoazovsk. She also said 211 were evacuated using a humanitarian corridor to Olenivika, a rebel town.
Russia had earlier said that a deal had been reached to evacuate the injured troops. About a dozen buses carrying Ukrainian fighters holed up beneath the besieged plant were seen leaving a huge industrial site in the southern port city on Monday evening.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that the Ukrainian military, intelligence, negotiating teams, and the red cross and UN were involved in the evacuation operation. He has said that “Ukraine needs its heroes alive” and that all the trapped Ukrainian troops may not be Fred immediately and warned that the negotiations over their release will require “delicacy and time.”
Ukrainian MP Lesia Vasylenko has said that they have reached a deal with Russia with the help of the UN and the Red Cross, and in the deal, they have agreed on a solider exchange. She has added that “the fate of these brave men will be unknown and will be in Russia’s hands, which is far from an ideal situation.” While the Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the Ukrainian soldiers evacuated from the steel plant will be treated “in line with the relevant international laws.”