Tuesday, August 9

Russia claims it has “completely liberated” the besieged Azovstal plant in Mariupol

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An aerial view of damaged residential buildings and the Azovstal steel plant in the background in the port city of Mariupol, on Wednesday, May 18.

Russia claimed Friday that its troops have “completely liberated” the besieged Azovstal steel plant in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol. 

In a statement, Russian Ministry of Defense spokesperson Major General Igor Konashenkov said that the “last group of 531 militants surrendered,” referring to the Ukrainian fighters who for several weeks had been resisting the Russian assault on the plant.

Earlier, the Ukrainian commander of the Azov Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Denis Prokopenko, gave the order to stop defending the city of Mariupol and issued a short video message from inside the Azovstal steel plant saying that the top military leadership had “issued an order to preserve the garrison soldiers’ life and health and stop defending the city.”

Konashenkov said the Azov Regiment commander “was taken out of the territory of the plant in a special armored car.”

New video just posted online appears to show the remaining Azov fighters walking out of the steel plant. 

CNN cannot independently verify that all Ukrainian troops have vacated the steel plant.

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