But what about the Ukrainian resistance at the Azovstal steel mills?

They have become symbols of Ukrainian resistance to the Russian invasion that began on February 24. The city of Mariupol, now completely destroyed, and its gigantic steel complex at Azovstal, will, this Tuesday, be in the process of surrender. Mariupol’s resistance was fading there: the Russian army exerted increasing pressure there. Several hundred Ukrainian fighters holed up in tens of kilometers of cellars from steel plants, the last stronghold of the Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol, surrendered to the pro-Russian forces. They will now be captured. But what happened in the past two days at the steel plants of Azovstal? 20 minutes make a point.

But what happened at the steel plants of Azovstal?

On Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that about 265 Ukrainian fighters holed up in steel plants in Azovstal have surrendered to pro-Russian forces and have been captured. “During the past 24 hours, 265 fighters surrendered and captured themselves. More than 50 of them were seriously wounded. The ministry said that the day before, Deputy Defense Minister of Ukraine Jana Maliar announced that 264 Ukrainian fighters, including 53 wounded, had been evacuated from steel plants on The two were sent to positions located in the territories controlled by Russian and pro-Russian forces, Novoazovsk and Olynyivka.

What will happen to these roughly 300 Ukrainian fighters?

The Russian Defense Ministry said, on Tuesday, that “all fighters who need medical assistance are sent to the Novoazovsk hospital,” located in a pro-Russian separatist region. For its part, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Jana Maliar stressed, on Monday, that fighters should be returned in the future to Ukraine-controlled territories “as part of the exchange procedure.” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky promised in his now traditional evening video that the main thing is to “save the lives of our comrades.” “I want to emphasize this: Ukraine needs its living heroes. This is our principle.”

A view of the Azovstal metallurgical plant in Mariupol. – / AP / SIPA

The Ukrainian General Staff noted that “the operation to rescue the stranded defenders of Ukraine is continuing,” without specifying their number. Considering that these men have “finished” their mission [leur résistance acharnée a notamment empêché la prise rapide par l’armée russe de la grande ville ukrainienne de Zaporijjia]The Ministry of Defense of Ukraine explained on Telegram that “Unfortunately, today Ukraine is still not able to unblock Azovstal by military means.”

Why did the soldiers surrender?

Last week, Ukrainian authorities said that more than 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers – including 600 wounded, according to one of their commanders – remain in the underground galleries of the giant steel plants. All of them holed up in Azovstal after suffering the exhausting siege of Mariupol for more than a month. However, these well-established Ukrainian fighters declared on Monday that they “implemented the orders” of the “Ukrainian Supreme Command” in order to “save lives”, without specifying the content of the orders they received or the details of upcoming operations.

“For 82 days, the defenders of Mariupol, despite the difficulties, carried out orders, pushed back the crushing forces of the enemy and allowed the Ukrainian army to regroup, train more personnel and receive a large number of weapons from partner countries,” the Azov regiment detailed in the social networks of which He has been defending the site for several weeks.

What about the situation in Mariupol?

Women, children and the elderly who had sought refuge at the site of the steel plants were evacuated at the end of April, thanks to an operation coordinated by the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross. According to the Ukrainian General Staff, the Russian army continues its intense shelling and artillery fire there. And if the Russian Defense Ministry announced, on Monday, that a truce had been reached there in order to evacuate the wounded Ukrainians, Kyiv did not comment. The statement stated that “the Russian forces are fortifying their positions along the southern axis, which indicates their goals of permanent control of the region.” ISW (Institute for the Study of War).

As for the martyred city of Mariupol, it was completely destroyed since the start of the Russian offensive on February 24. The port city was constantly bombed by the Russian army, and the port city was destroyed by “more than 90%”, according to the city’s mayor, Vadim Boychenko. The complete capture of it by Russian troops, which now seems inevitable after the order given to the last Azovstal fighters, will allow the latter to smooth the junction between the Crimea and the Donbass.

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