Moscow said an agreement had been reached to evacuate wounded Ukrainian fighters from the Azovstal metallurgical plant in Mariupol, a besieged Ukrainian port city.
“On May 16, as a result of talks with representatives of the Ukrainian military, blocked on the territory of the Mariupol metallurgical plant” Azovstal “, an agreement was reached on the removal of the wounded,” – said the Russian Defense Ministry on Monday, Interfax. speaking.
Ukrainian officials did not immediately confirm or deny such an agreement with Russian forces, but they signaled that the evacuation operation was ongoing.
Speaking on Ukrainian television, Deputy Defense Minister Anna Malyar declined to disclose details on the grounds that “any information” could “harm” the ongoing processes.
“In order to save lives, the entire Mariupol garrison is fulfilling the approved decision of the Supreme Military Command and hopes for the support of the Ukrainian people,” said in a video message the commander of the Ukrainian battalion “Azov” Denis Prokopenko, distributed in the Telegram.
“The defenders of Mariupol carried out the order, despite all the difficulties, repelling the overwhelming forces of the enemy for 82 days and allowed the Ukrainian army to regroup, train more personnel and get more weapons from partner countries,” Prokopenko continued. .
Dozens of civilians were evacuated this month from a UN and Red Cross operation in Mariupol, which had a pre-war population of more than 400,000.
Earlier on Monday, relatives of Ukrainian fighters hiding in the underground catacombs of the Azovstal plant turned to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan for help during a meeting in Istanbul. Turkey has repeatedly offered to mediate in the evacuation from Mariupol and the conclusion of a peace agreement to end Russia’s war against Ukraine.