Moscow, May 19 (EFE).- Another 771 Ukrainian fighters have surrendered at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 1,730 soldiers who have laid down their arms in the last three days, the Russian defense ministry said on Thursday.
“In the past 24 hours, 771 militants of the Azov nationalist battalion holed up in the Azovstal steel works surrendered,” the defense ministry spokesman, Major-General Igor Konashenkov, said.
“Overall, 1,730 militants, including 80 wounded servicemen, have surrendered since May 16,” he added.
The spokesman said the Ukrainian soldiers in need of medical assistance were being treated at health centers in Novoazovsk and Donetsk.
Neither Russia nor Ukraine have disclosed how many servicemen remain trapped in the steel plant in the besieged port city.
Ukraine denies the soldiers have surrendered and claims over 260 servicemen have been evacuated from the territory.
Mariupol has suffered the most intense bombing since the Russian invasion began on Feb. 24, and has been practically destroyed, while the few remaining citizens face a serious humanitarian crisis due to the scarcity of drinking water and food.
The facilities of the Azov steelworks, near the city, was the last Ukrainian stronghold conquered by the Russians, who managed to control the area just two days ago.
The Kyiv government denounced this weekend that the steel mill had been bombarded by Russian military forces with white phosphorus, a weapon prohibited by the Geneva Convention. EFE