About 2,500 defenders of Mariupol were being held captive by the Russians.
Source: The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy
The President of Ukraine believes that it is unprofitable for the Russians to torture the Ukrainian military from Azovstal because they are “public prisoners”. Their release is being handled by Defense Intelligence.
“The only result is to bring people home. The first part was to bring people out alive. I believe that the Defense Intelligence did the first part. Today there is a second part — to bring them home alive. They are our best specialists in this matter today. Maybe not the best in the world, but for us, they are the best. I trust them,” the President said.
Also, Zelenskyy emphasized that he did not accept the statements of the Russian authorities and self- proclaimed Donetsk Peopleʼs Republic leaders about the future of Ukrainian defenders. Because in such a way they are trying to promote themselves.
Uaposition memo: The Russians surrounded and blocked Mariupol on March 1. Ukrainian fighters have been defending themselves on the last bridgehead, the Azovstal steelworks since the end of April. On May 16, it was decided to leave the steelworks, and the defenders were held captive. According to the British Intelligence, about 1,700 Ukrainian servicemen left Azovstal.