Azovstal defenders bodies arrive in Kyiv from Mariupol


The bodies of some Ukrainian fighters killed defending the Azovstal of Mariupol have now arrived in Kyiv, the soldiers’ families say.

Azovstal defenders bodies arrive in Kyiv from Mariupol

They say this was part of a swap with Russia, with each side receiving 160 bodies. Moscow has not commented.

On the Ukrainian side, more than 50 bodies were those of members of the Azov regiment, the families say.

The Ukrainians were holed up in the Azovstal steelworks for weeks. In May, the survivors were taken prisoner.

Kyiv says Mariupol’s last defenders were given orders to save their lives after successfully completing their main goal of holding up Russian troops and not allowing them to be redeployed to other key battlefields.

Moscow says the Ukrainian defenders were forced to surrender. They were later moved to at least two locations controlled by Russian-backed forces in eastern Ukraine.

More than 2,500 Azovstal defenders – who also include border guards, police and territorial defence – are currently being held by Russia, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says.

Mariupol was captured by Russia in May after a months-long siege and heavy shelling that virtually wiped out the city. Ukrainian officials estimate that tens of thousands of people, including children, may have been killed.

They have also been warning of a possible outbreak of cholera in the city, where many bodies are still believed to be buried under the rubble, and sewage has reportedly contaminated main water supply chains.

After Mariupol, Russian forces turned their attention to Severodonetsk – and the twin city of Lysychansk. Seizing them would give the Russians control of the Luhansk region – which, alongside Donetsk, makes up the wider Donbas, stated target of Russian operations.

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