Ukrainian fighters have ended their weeks-long defense of a besieged steel plant in the strategic port city of Mariupol, as hundreds of combatants — dozens of them seriously wounded — were evacuated from the complex Monday.
“Ukraine needs Ukrainian heroes alive,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in his nightly address. “We hope that we will be able to save the lives of our guys. Among them are the seriously wounded; they are being provided with medical aid.”
Mariupol’s Azovstal Iron and Steel Works and its network of underground tunnels have for weeks served as a shelter and holdout for some 1,000 Ukrainian fighters, including many from the Azov Regiment.
On Monday, Ukrainian officials reached a cease-fire agreement with the Russian military, with dozens of buses seen leaving the plant. The evacuation was coordinated with the help of the United Nations and the Red Cross.