Ukrainian forces say they have fulfilled their “combat mission” in besieged Mariupol

Buses carrying service members of Ukrainian forces from the besieged Azovstal metal mill drive away below escort of the pro-Russian navy in the middle of Ukraine-Russia battle in Mariupol, Ukraine, Monday, May 16.

More than 260 folks have been rescued from the besieged Azovstal plant — together with 53 significantly wounded, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar stated.

In a video assertion issued late Monday, Malyar stated that collectively, the Ministry of Defense, the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the National Guard, and the Border Guard Service launched an operation to rescue defenders of Mariupol blocked on the territory of the Azovstal plant.

She stated that “53 seriously injured people were evacuated from Azovstal to a medical facility in Novoazovsk [in territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic] for medical care.”

“Another 211 people were taken to Olenivka through the humanitarian corridor. An exchange procedure will be carried out to return them home.”

Olenivka is a city close to Donetsk on the entrance traces of the present combating, however in Russian-occupied territory. 

Malyar made it clear that some defenders stay at Azovstal.

“As for the defenders who still remain on the territory of Azovstal, rescue efforts are being carried out by the joint efforts of the above-mentioned agencies,” she stated.

She added, “Thanks to the defenders of Mariupol, we have gained critical time to form reserves, regroup forces and receive assistance from partners. The defenders of Mariupol fulfilled all the tasks set by the command in full.”

“Unfortunately, we do not have the opportunity to unblock Azovstal by military means. The most important common task of all Ukraine and the whole world is to save the lives of the defenders of Mariupol,” Malyar stated.

A short while after Malyar’s assertion was launched, President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed the scenario at Azovstal, and likewise implied that some Ukrainians remained contained in the plant. 

“Thanks to the actions of the Ukrainian military — the Armed Forces of Ukraine, intelligence, the negotiating team, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations, we hope that we will be able to save the lives of our guys.”

“Among them are the seriously injured. They are being treated. I want to emphasize that Ukraine needs Ukrainian heroes alive. This is our principle.”

“The work continues to bring the boys home, and this work needs delicacy. And time.”

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