More than 1,000 fighters from Mariupol, Ukraine transferred to Russia for ‘investigation’: report

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More than 1,000 Ukrainian fighters who surrendered during the battle for the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol were transferred to Russia “for investigation there,” Russian state media reported Wednesday.

The TASS news agency, citing a law enforcement source, reported that at least 100 of the prisoners are being held in Moscow and that they include “foreign mercenaries”.

“Over 1,000 people from Azovstal were relocated to Russia. Law enforcement is working with them, “the source said.” Investigators also plan to send a number of other prisoners to Russia in the future, following a series of face-to-face clashes.

The report could not be independently confirmed.

In this photo taken from a video published by the press service of the Russian Defense Ministry on Wednesday 18 May 2022, the Ukrainian military stands in front of a Russian soldier after leaving the defeated Azovstal steel mill in Mariupol, Ukraine.

In this photo taken from a video published by the press service of the Russian Defense Ministry on Wednesday 18 May 2022, the Ukrainian military stands in front of a Russian soldier after leaving the defeated Azovstal steel mill in Mariupol, Ukraine.
(Press service of the Russian Ministry of Defense via AP)

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The Russian Defense Ministry says around 2,400 people surrendered in Mariupol before Russia took control of the steel mill there.

The Ukrainian government wants Russia to conduct a prisoner swap and hand over all who laid down their arms, but Russian lawmakers want some of the prisoners to be tried, according to Reuters.

The Azovstal metallurgical combine, damaged in the fighting, was seen from the Mariupol seaport in Mariupol, Ukraine on Monday 30 May.

The Azovstal metallurgical combine, damaged in the fighting, was seen from the Mariupol seaport in Mariupol, Ukraine on Monday 30 May.
(AP)

The Ukrainian military intelligence agency said on Tuesday that Russia has so far handed over the bodies of 210 Ukrainian fighters killed in the battle for Mariupolmany of them among the last resisted in the Azovstal steelworks.

The agency did not specify how many other bodies are believed to remain in the rubble of the plant.

Ukrainian soldiers sit on a bus after being evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, which was defeated on Tuesday 17 May.
(Photo AP)

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Russia now controls the destroyed port city. She started turning bodies last week. Ukraine said on Saturday that the two sides exchanged 320 bodies, each of which returned 160. It is unclear whether more bodies were given to Russia.

Ukrainian fighters defended the steel mills for nearly three months before surrendering in May to relentless Russian attacks from land, sea and air.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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