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Zelenskyy gives details about Azovstal defenders: How many of them are in Russian captivity and how they are treated there

During the defense of the final frontier in Mariupol, over 2,500 Azovstal defenders were taken as prisoners of war by the Russians, said President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. According to him, the issue of their release is now being handled by the Defense Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

As these people have become public prisoners, it’s not in the Russians’ best interests to subject them to violence or torture, said the Head of State.

When asked about his attitude to public statements that were occasionally made by the authorities of the so-called DPR or the Russian State Duma, he said it was mere publicity move. He doesn’t take their words seriously.

  • Context. In May, Ukrainian defenders of Azovstal, among whom were members of the Azov regiment, were taken to the territories controlled by Russia. The Ukrainian side expects to be able to exchange and release them; however, some Russian officials have called to hold a trial for them and even to execute them under the charge of "terrorism".
  • The so-called "authorities" of the self-proclaimed "DPR" have repeatedly claimed their intent to hold an "international tribunal" over Ukrainian defenders.
  • Russian authorities have earlier claimed that over 1900 Azov servicemen were held captive, while British intelligence estimated their number as 1700.
  • Kateryna, the wife of the commander of the Mariupol Azov regiment Denys Prokopenko, said recently that the families of the Azovstal defenders who are now held captive by Russians urge the Red Cross, the UN, and other organizations to help improve the conditions the Ukrainian warriors are held in.
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