Kyiv, Jun 8 (EFE).- The Russian government has returned the bodies of 210 Ukrainian troops killed in Mariupol, most of whom defended the Azovstal steel plant, the last bastion of Ukraine’s defense in the southern port city, the Ukrainian defense ministry said on Wednesday.
“Through the efforts of the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War, the process of returning the bodies of the fallen defenders of Mariupol is underway,” the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s General Intelligence Directorate said on its social media accounts.
“To date, 210 of our troops have been returned. Most of them are heroic defenders of Azovstal,” it added.
The agency added that the coordination headquarters, under orders from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is working for the return of all fallen Ukrainians to territory under its control.
Ukraine and Russia carried out the first exchange of dead soldiers on Jun. 2, when 160 from each side were swapped.
Russian forces have continuously besieged and bombarded Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov in the pro-Russia region of Donetsk, since their invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.
The city, whose port is already being used by the Russian authorities, had a population of just over half a million inhabitants before the invasion, which has now been reduced to less than 100,000, according to the Ukrainian authorities. EFE