Former Russian colonel criticizes the country’s invasion of Ukraine on state television

A wounded service member of Ukrainian forces from the besieged Azovstal metal mill in Mariupol is transported out of a bus on a stretcher beneath escort of the pro-Russian navy upon arrival in Novoazovsk, Ukraine, on May 16. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Ukraine expects to hold out an alternate of Russian prisoners of struggle for the severely injured troopers evacuated from the Azovstal metal plant in Mariupol late on Monday, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister has mentioned.

“In the interests of saving lives, 52 of our severely wounded servicemen were evacuated yesterday. After their condition stabilizes, we will exchange them for Russian prisoners of war,” Iryna Vereshchuk mentioned Tuesday.

“We are working on the next stages of the humanitarian operation,” Vereshchuk added.

Hundreds of individuals had been evacuated on Monday from the metal plant, the final holdout in a metropolis that had grow to be a logo of Ukrainian resistance beneath relentless Russian bombardment.

What Russia is saying: Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov mentioned on Tuesday that fighters who left the besieged Azovstal plant can be handled in accordance with worldwide legal guidelines.

“President [Vladimir Putin] … ordered Minister of Defense to refrain from storming Azovstal for humanitarian reasons and announced that both civilians and the military could leave, the military after laying down their arms,” Peskov said on a regular conference call.

Peskov added that Putin also “guaranteed that they would be treated in accordance with the international laws.”

In a statement on Tuesday, the Russian Investigative Committee said investigators will interrogate what they describe as “the surrendered militants” who had been evacuated from the Azovstal plant.

“Investigators of the Russian Investigative Committee, as a part of the investigation of legal circumstances on the crimes of the Ukrainian regime in opposition to the civilian inhabitants of Donbass, will interrogate the surrendered militants who had been hiding on the Azovstal plant in Mariupol,” the committee’s brief statement said.

Nearly 600 Ukrainian soldiers at the Azovstal plant laid down their weapons on Monday and Tuesday, and most have been taken on buses to the town of Orlivka in the Russian-backed Donetsk People’s Republic.

CNN’s Anna Chernova and Uliana Pavlova contributed reporting to this publish.

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