The Russian military said on Friday it had “completely liberated” the Azovstal steelworks in the southeastern Ukrainian strategic port city of Mariupol after the last Ukrainian troops surrendered.
Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said, “Since May 16, 2,439 Nazis have surrendered to the Azov (regiment) and the Ukrainian army besieged the factory.”
“Today, May 20, the last group of 531 fighters surrendered.”
He added that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had informed President Vladimir Putin of the “end of the operation and the complete liberation of the (Azvastal) industrial complex and the city of Mariupol.”
Konashenkov said the leader of the Azov Regiment had surrendered at the site and had been removed from the factory “in a special armored vehicle” to protect him from “the hatred of the Mariupol residents (for him) and the desire to punish him”.
The Azov Regiment is a former far-right battalion that has become a national guard unit famous for the skills of its fighters.
“The factory’s underground installations, where the fighters were hiding, have come under the full control of Russian forces,” Konashenkov added.
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