Azovstal fighters released from captivity ‘believe in victory’ – Zaporizhzhya governor

5 July, 05:36 PM
Mariupol's Azovstal fighters (Photo:Chief Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine/Facebook)

Mariupol's Azovstal fighters (Photo:Chief Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine/Facebook)

Fighters from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, recently released from Russian captivity, are “in a fighting mood” even though many have suffered serious injuries, the head of the Zaporizhzhya military administration, Oleksandr Starukh, said after meeting the soldiers in hospital.

“Everyone believes in (Ukraine’s) victory, Starukh said, according to a report by the MainIntelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine published on Telegram on July 5.

“Of course being in captivity for a month and a half is not easy, especially if you are wounded,” Starukh said. “But all our heroes endured all of this and are ready to continue the fight for Ukraine in the future. In our turn, we will work with everyone and will provide any assistance.”

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Ukraine and Russia on June 29 held the largest prisoner exchange since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion. In the exchange, 144 Ukrainian soldiers were released, including 95 fighters who defended the Azovstal plant in Mariupol. Most of the released defenders have severe gunshot and shrapnel wounds, explosive injuries, burns, bone fractures, and limb amputations.

More than 2,500 defenders of Mariupol from the Azovstal plant are in Russian captivity, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on June 6. According to news website Ukrayinska Pravda, 2,449 soldiers surrendered at Azovstal. They are being held in the Russian-occupied village of Olenyvka in Donetsk Oblast.

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