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Russia claims over 1,700 Ukrainian soldiers surrender in Mariupol

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Russia claimed on Thursday that some 1,730 Ukrainian soldiers have surrendered from Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant this week which far outstrips the numbers Kyiv has reported. 

Ukrainian officials acknowledged that the steel plant – which became a symbol for resistance against Russia’s invasion – fell this week after 265 soldiers holed up in the plant’s tunnels surrendered to Russian forces, including 52 severely injured soldiers. 

But Moscow’s figures on the number of surrendered troops has continued to climb daily.

In this photo taken from video released by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Wednesday, May 18, 2022, Ukrainian servicemen stand in font of a Russian serviceman after they leaved the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine.
(Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

TOP UKRAINIAN COMMANDERS REFUSE SURRENDER FROM MARIUPOL STEEL PLANT, DONETSK SEPARATIST LEADER CLAIMS

Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs took to Telegram Thursday to claim that another 771 soldiers had turned themselves over in the past 24 hours.

Fox News has been unable to reach Ukraine’s defense ministry to verify the Kremlin’s claims.

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereschuk said this week that she was working to secure a prisoner exchange for roughly 50 wounded Ukrainian servicemen, but officials have remained tight-lipped on any negotiations. 

Several Russian officials have rejected prisoner swap proposals for any soldier who fought from the Azovstal steel plant, while others have called for blanket executions. 

In this photo taken from video released by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, wounded Ukrainian servicemen lay in a bus as they are being evacuated as they are being evacuated from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine. 

In this photo taken from video released by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, wounded Ukrainian servicemen lay in a bus as they are being evacuated as they are being evacuated from the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine. 
(Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

AZOVSTAL FIGHTERS WILL FACE RUSSIAN INTERROGATION, COURT

Leader from the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Denis Pushilin, said they should face their “fate” by a Russian court. 

The fight in Mariupol was among the most brutal in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began in February and soldiers, along with civilians, were forced to bunker in the tunnels deep under the Azovstal steel plant for months. 

Humanitarian evacuations were eventually secured for the civilians trapped in the plant and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, along with the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross, are working to secure a prisoner exchange.

Mariupol city mayor Vadym Boichenko said Wednesday that it was “good news” that Zelenskyy was directly involved in the exchange mission but said the situation remains “quite difficult.”

In this photo provided by Azov Special Forces Regiment of the Ukrainian National Guard Press Office, Azov Special Forces Regiment's servicemen, injured during fighting against Russian forces, pose for a photographer inside the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine, Tuesday, May 10, 2022. 

In this photo provided by Azov Special Forces Regiment of the Ukrainian National Guard Press Office, Azov Special Forces Regiment’s servicemen, injured during fighting against Russian forces, pose for a photographer inside the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine, Tuesday, May 10, 2022. 
(Dmytro ‘Orest’ Kozatskyi/Azov Special Forces Regiment of the Ukrainian National Guard Press Office via AP)

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“This topic is of a very delicate nature and the negotiation mission is very fragile today,” he said during a briefing.

It is unclear how many Ukrainian soldiers remain in Mariupol but Pushilin claimed Wednesday that there is no record of any top commanders having surrendered with their troops.

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