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HomeWorldUkrainian troops surrender in Mariupol after 82-day siege

Ukrainian troops surrender in Mariupol after 82-day siege

The General Staff of Ukraine's Armed Forces says 'Mariupol' garrison has fulfilled its combat mission

Ukraine’s military said on Tuesday it intended to pull out its remaining soldiers from their last bastion in Mariupol, as fighters that have hung on for 82 days started to surrender, signaling the conclusion of Europe’s bloodiest battle in decades.

International news agency Reuters reported that buses have started to leave the Azovstal steelworks overnight with five of them arriving in the Russian-held town of Novoazovsk. The Russian ministry of defense showed fighters leaving the plant with some of them being carried on stretchers.

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Russia claimed that some 256 Ukrainian fighters had “laid down their arms and surrendered”, which included 51 severely wounded Ukrainian soldiers. Whereas, Ukraine said that 264 soldiers, which includes 53 wounded, had left the metal plant with efforts being made to evacuate others still inside.

In a statement, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said that “the Mariupol garrison has fulfilled its combat mission”.

“The supreme military command ordered the commanders of the units stationed at Azovstal to save the lives of the personnel … Defenders of Mariupol are the heroes of our time,” the statement added.

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The surrender apparently signifies the end of the battle of Mariupol, where Kyiv says that tens of thousands of people were killed under months of Russian siege.

The city is now a ruin. Its total capture is Russia’s biggest victory of the war. This grants Moscow total control over the coast of the Sea of Azov. It also gives Russia an uninterrupted stretch of territory in eastern and southern Ukraine nearly the size of Greece.

However, it comes as Russia’s campaign has waned everywhere else. Its troops around the city of Kharkiv have been rapidly retreating since they were cast out of the north and the region around the capital Kyiv at the end of March.

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