Ukraine said the last defenders of Mariupol have completed their mission and are being evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant, where they have been holed up under bombardment for weeks.
The apparent surrender of the final stronghold in the key city would cede full control of Mariupol to Russia, ending the deadly battle for the besieged port that has come to symbolize the brutality of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war.
Here’s what to know today:
- The “Mariupol garrison has fulfilled its combat mission,” the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces say in a statement.
- More than 260 of the most wounded fighters have already been evacuated from the sprawling steel plant.
- Turkey raises objections to Sweden and Finland’s NATO bids.
Wounded troops from Azovstal steel plant evacuated for medical treatment
Ukraine says combat mission ‘fulfilled’ at Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol
Ukraine’s military has declared an end to its defense of Mariupol, saying that the last remaining pocket of resistance in the besieged southern port city had “fulfilled its combat mission.”
The military hailed the fighters’ efforts in defending the Azovstal steel plant and gave them credit for preventing Russian forces from capturing other areas of Ukraine, including Zaporizhia.
Calling them “the heroes of our time,” the military said in a post on Facebook late Wednesday that the fighters “gave us the opportunity to prepare and create defensive lines, where our troops are today and give a decent rebuff to the aggressor,” the military said in a post on Facebook. “We received critical time to form reserves, regroup forces, and receive assistance from partners.”
A first set of wounded fighters were evacuated from the steel plant late Monday, with an unknown number still awaiting evacuation.