Defenders of “Azovstal”: Year in Captivity

by Meifan Honcharuk
Sunday, May 21, 2023
Defenders of “Azovstal”: Year in Captivity

On 20 May 2022, the last fighters for Mariupol surrendered voluntarily

20 May 2023. A year in captivity. A year since the Ukrainian defenders left in the unknown. Of the 2.439 persons who surrendered to avoid being buried under metal and soil, no more than 500 returned from captivity. About 1.900 men and women remain in Russian captivity.

Ukrainian military fought for a port city in the Donetsk region for 3 months. The Russian occupiers used all possible weapons to attack the defenders from the sea and land. Ukrainian fighters and civilians were cornered in the Azovstal metallurgical plant in Mariupol. The Russian army continued to attack with super-heavy bombs and tried to catch the "last fortress" by storm. However, enemy attacks were repelled and he could not claim full control of the city. On May 20, 2022, Ukrainian soldiers (volunteers, fighters of the Azov regiment, the Mariupol defence garrison, Armed Forces of Ukraine, border guards, etc.) left the factory on the order of the Supreme Command. The conditions for the surrender of Ukrainian soldiers were common. The Red Cross, and the United Nations, had to monitor their fulfilment.

During the year, the RF practically gave away prisoners of war associated with the Azov regiment. At the moment, about 700 soldiers are in the hands of the enemy. Also, during this time,  Russia managed to hold a "trial" of some fighters and sentenced them to death, blowing up the place of detention of Ukrainian prisoners of war from Mariupol.

Ukraine remembers the feat of the heroes and regularly demands their return from captivity. However, the survivors have to be in captivity for 365 days.

Today in the capital of Ukraine will again be reminded about Azovstal. The play Voice of Azovstal and an installation about fighters will be presented in Kyiv. Peaceful actions will be held in other cities of Ukraine, calling for the return of defenders.

Ukrainians continue to fight for the freedom of those who defended the country from losing quickly and showed courage. The occupiers destroyed Mariupol and the faith of Ukrainians in victory – no.

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