Ukraine expects an exchange of Russian prisoners of war for the seriously injured soldiers evacuated late Monday from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister said.
“In the interest of saving lives, 52 of our seriously injured servicemen were evacuated yesterday. After their condition has stabilized, we will exchange them for Russian prisoners of war,” Iryna Vereshchuk said on Tuesday.
“We are working on the next phases of the humanitarian operation,” Vereshchuk added.
Hundreds of people were evacuated Monday from the steel mill, the last sentry in a city that had become a symbol of Ukrainian resistance under relentless Russian bombing.
What Russia saysKremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday that fighters who left the besieged factory in Azovstal will be treated in accordance with international laws.
“President [Vladimir Putin] … ordered the Defense Minister not to storm Azovstal for humanitarian reasons and announced that both civilians and military personnel could leave, the military after laying down their weapons,” Peskov said during a regular conference call.
Peskov added that Putin also “guaranteed that they would be treated in accordance with international laws.”
In a statement on Tuesday, the Russian Commission of Inquiry said investigators will question what they describe as “the surrendered militants” who were evacuated from the Azovstal plant.
“Investigators of the Russian Commission of Inquiry will, as part of the criminal investigation into the crimes committed by the Ukrainian regime against the civilian population of Donbass, interrogate the surrendered militants hiding in the Azovstal plant in Mariupol,” the brief statement said. the Commision. said.
Nearly 600 Ukrainian soldiers at the Azovstal factory laid down their arms on Monday and Tuesday, and most were taken by bus to the city of Orlivka in the Russian-backed Donetsk People’s Republic.
Anna Chernova and Uliana Pavlova of DailyExpertNews contributed to this post.