The bodies of the dead Ukrainian servicemen are being evacuated from the territory of the Azovstal steelworks in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, the commander of the Azov Regiment, Denys Prokopenko said in a video message posted to Telegram messenger on May 20.
"The top military leadership has ordered the life and health of the garrison's defenders to be saved and the city's defense to be stopped,” Prokopenko said.
“Despite heavy fighting, defending while encircled, and a lack of supplies, we stressed three important conditions for us: civilians, wounded, and the dead.”
Video of Azovstal evacuation emerges
According to him, civilians were evacuated, and the seriously injured received the necessary assistance — they were evacuated for further ex-change and delivery to the territory controlled by the Ukrainian government.
"As for the fallen heroes, the process continues and I hope that in the near future relatives and the whole of Ukraine will be able to bury their soldiers with honors," Prokopenko stated.
The Azovstal steelworks became the last stronghold of Ukrainian forces in Mariupol after most of the city fell under Russian control early in the full-scale Russian war.
On May 17, the Ministry of Defense announced the start of an operation to rescue Ukrainian troops trapped in Azovstal.