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Ukrainian fighters who surrendered while defending the Mariupol steel mill, registered as prisoners of war

Fearing Russian reprisals, hundreds of Ukrainian fighters – who surrendered after the brutal attack on the Mariupol steel factory – have been registered as prisoners of war.

Most important points:

As part of its duty to ensure humane treatment of POWs, the Red Cross has registered hundreds of Ukrainian fighters who have been evacuated from Mariupol by the Russians. Amnesty International says their status means they must not be subjected to torture or ill-treatment as the Mariupol steel plant has surrendered since Monday

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed to seek international help to save them.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said on Thursday it had collected personal information from hundreds of soldiers — name, date of birth, close relatives — and registered them as prisoners as part of its role in ensuring the humane treatment of prisoners of war under the Convention of Geneva.

Ukrainian fighters

Amnesty International said in a tweet that prisoner of war status means the soldiers “should not be subjected to any form of torture or ill-treatment”.

More than 1,700 defenders of the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol have surrendered since Monday, Russian authorities said, in what appeared to be the final phase of the nearly three-month siege of the now pulverized port city.

At least some of the fighters have been taken by the Russians to a former penal colony in an area controlled by Moscow-backed separatists. Others have been hospitalized, according to a separatist official.

However, an undisclosed number of fighters remained in the maze of bunkers and tunnels in the sprawling factory.

In a short video message, the deputy commander of the Azov regiment – which led the defense of the steel plant – said that he and other fighters were still inside.

“There is an operation underway, the details of which I will not announce,” said Svyatoslav Palamar.

Mr Zelenskyy promised the world to seek help.

“I am doing everything I can to ensure that the most influential international forces are informed and, to the extent possible, involved in rescuing our troops,” he said.

Read more about the Russian invasion of Ukraine:

While Ukraine expressed hopes for a prisoner exchange, Russian authorities have threatened to investigate some of the Azovstal fighters for war crimes and bring them to justice, labeling them “Nazis” and criminals.

The Red Cross has registered hundreds of soldiers as prisoners of war. (Reuters: Russian Ministry of Defense/Handout)

The Azov regiment’s far-right ancestry has been seized by the Kremlin as part of an effort to view the Russian invasion as a fight against Nazi influence in Ukraine.

By taking the Azovstal steel mill, Russia could claim full control of Mariupol and achieve a long-sought victory.

However, it would be a mostly symbolic victory at this point, as the city is already effectively in Moscow’s hands, and analysts say most of the Russian troops tied up there by the battle have already left.

Kiev’s forces, supported by Western weapons, have thwarted Russia’s initial aim to storm the capital and fiercely resisted Moscow’s forces in the Donbas, the eastern industrial region that President Vladimir Putin had set his sights on conquering.

The surprising success of the Ukrainian troops has boosted Kiev’s confidence.

Dorothy R. Barrett

I’m a full-time blogger by passion. This is my first blog, and I'm excited to share everything that I love about technology, business, and lifestyle with you. I’m a writer by trade, and I can be found writing about tech, business, and lifestyle on my personal blog.

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