Russian negotiator calls for death penalty for Azov activists
The prisoner exchange deal was intended to save defenders of the Azov Steel Plant in Mariupol from certain death. Many fighters have already been brought into the territory under Russian control. Radical demands come from Russia.
Dhe Russian parliament is considering exempting fighters from the Ukrainian Azov regiment from a prisoner exchange. This emerges from a Telegram service broadcasting from the Duma. The Tass news agency quotes Duma chief Vyacheslav Volodin as saying that Nazi criminals should not be exchanged.
A Russian negotiator was even sharper. Russia should consider the death penalty for activists, said Leonid Slutsky, who negotiates with Ukraine for Moscow. He said, “They don’t deserve to live in the face of the monstrous human rights crimes they have committed and continue to commit against our prisoners.
Russia accuses Ukraine of tolerating right-wing extremists as part of its army with the regiment. In fact, the force was known to have had them in its ranks. However, experts assume that has changed in recent years. The regiment was instrumental in the defense of the port city of Mariupol.
After months of fierce fighting for the city, it recently looked like Ukraine would abandon its last stronghold there, leaving Russian troops in command of the largely devastated port city. The Ukrainian army announced on Tuesday that it would demand a complete evacuation of the Azovstal plant. The facility had become a symbol of resistance in Mariupol because Ukrainian fighters had holed up there for weeks.
Negotiations continued on Tuesday over whether and under what conditions the remaining fighters should also be released from the factory. We didn’t know how many there were.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced on Facebook that the evacuation of 53 seriously injured soldiers had begun. They were taken to a hospital in Novoazovsk. The city is controlled by pro-Russian separatists.
Ukrainians were taken to the territory under Russian control
More than 200 other soldiers were also brought to Olenivka, which is also under Russian control. They were then reportedly taken to Ukrainian-controlled territory as part of a prisoner exchange. Other measures were taken to save the steelworks units.
The Russian army claims to have captured 265 Ukrainian fighters in steelworks since Monday. “In the past 24 hours, 265 militants, including 51 seriously injured, have laid down their arms and taken themselves into captivity,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Tuesday. The figures therefore differ slightly from information from kyiv.
The Russian ministry also released a video purporting to show detained Ukrainians receiving medical treatment and evacuating the injured. The Russian military initially left it open whether the prisoner swap hoped for by kyiv would actually take place.
“The Mariupol Garrison has fulfilled its combat mission”
A commander of Ukrainian troops trapped there previously explained in a video that he was carrying out orders from high command to save the lives of soldiers. The General Staff of the Ukrainian Army posted a statement on Facebook that the Supreme Military Command had ordered commanders of units stationed at the Azov Steel Plant to save the lives of personnel. “The Mariupol garrison has fulfilled its combat mission.”
Defenders are heroes and have gone down in history forever. Their resistance prevented the planned rapid conquest of Zaporizhia. By immobilizing enemy forces, Ukraine had the opportunity to build defensive lines. “We had a critical moment left to build up reserves, regroup troops and gain support from partners.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video address posted on Facebook overnight that it was not an easy day. However, Ukraine needs its living heroes. “Thanks to the actions of the Ukrainian army, the Ukrainian armed forces, the secret services, as well as the negotiating team, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN, we hope that we can save our boys ” lives.”