On 17 May 2022, by order of Zelenskyy, Azov defenders left the Azovstal plant in Mariupol and surrendered to the Russians. From this day on, according to all international rules, they are prisoners of war of the Russian Federation and are subject to exchange. However, in more than a year, Ukraine could return no more than 600 defenders of Mariupol. Moreover, in the summer of 2023, Russia began the trial of 22 Azovs, including 8 women who worked as cooks. The court of Rostov on Don in Russia, charges those who carry out terrorist activities. Considering that it is in this court that the case of the Azov fighters is being considered, Russia confirms its false statements that Azov is a terrorist organisation. Russia has no intention of returning them and is going to sentence them for life.
On 29 September 2023, the Russian media continued to cover the trial. The world was thus able to see the condition of the prisoners of war – it does not correspond to the description "satisfactory". All Ukrainian prisoners of war are shaven, the skin is pale, and the body is saggy or covered with bruises.
The Russian Federation continues to hold thousands of prisoners of war who defended Ukraine, including at least 700 Azovstal fighters. This is according to the documents. But how many prisoners of war survived in the hands of the Kremlin criminals is unknown. Is there nothing the world can do?