World

Mariupol: Ukraine doing everything to save remaining fighters

May 18, 2022 7:00 am

At least another seven buses were seen leaving the Azovstal site on Tuesday. [Source: BBC News]

Ukraine is doing “everything possible and impossible” to save the remaining fighters trapped in Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks.

Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar says Kyiv knew how many soldiers were still at the plant, but stressed that it was “sensitive information”.

On Monday, 264 fighters – many badly wounded – were evacuated to areas held by Russian-backed rebels.

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Reuters reports that on Tuesday, another seven buses were seen leaving the site,

Ukraine wants its troops – the last defenders of the southern port city – to be exchanged for captured Russian soldiers as part of an evacuation deal confirmed by Moscow.

Hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers – Marines, the National Guard (including the Azov regiment), border guards, police and territorial defence units -, as well as a number of civilians with young children, have been holed up at the site since advancing Russian troops encircled Mariupol in early March.

Earlier this month, dozens of civilians were evacuated from Mariupol to both Russia-controlled and Ukraine-controlled territory.

In his video address on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukrainian military, intelligence and negotiating teams, as well as the Red Cross and the UN, were involved in the evacuation operation.

He said Ukraine needs its heroes alive.