Russia’s defence ministry said Wednesday that 959 Ukrainian soldiers had surrendered this week at the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Ukraine’s port city of Mariupol.
“Over the past 24 hours, 694 militants surrendered, including 29 wounded,” the ministry said in its daily briefing on the conflict. “In total since May 16, 959 militants surrendered, including 80 wounded.”
It said those requiring medical treatment were taken to a hospital in the town of Novoazovsk in Russian-controlled territory.
Kyiv is hoping to exchange the surrendered Ukrainian fighters, but Russia has yet to confirm whether they will be part of a prisoner swap.
Last month, Moscow claimed control of Mariupol after a weeks-long siege, but hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers remained holed up in underground tunnels beneath the huge Azovstal industrial zone, blocked by Russian troops.
Kyiv’s defence ministry has said it would do “everything necessary” to rescue the undisclosed number of personnel that remain in the steelworks, but admitted there was no military option available.