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Large scale surrender by Ukrainian forces continues in Mariupol

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According to the Russian Defence Ministry, 1730 members of Ukrainian forces have surrendered at the Mariupol plant since May 16 (Representational image courtesy: MFA, Russia)

The Russian Defence Ministry said on Thursday that as many as 771 "militants of the Azov nationalist unit" have surrendered at the blocked Azovstal metallurgical plant in Mariupol over the past 24 hours.  

Giving details of its ongoing 'special military operation' in Ukraine, Moscow revealed that so far 1730 militants have surrendered at the plant since May 16 which also includes 80 wounded who are receiving medical care at the Novoazovsk hospital.  

According to the ministry, the Ukrainian nationalists who laid down their arms and surrendered have been placed in the Yelenovka pre-trial detention center in the suburbs of Donetsk.

The Russian leadership said that it has repeatedly stated the senselessness of resistance, the opening of humanitarian corridors through which militants and representatives of the armed forces of Ukraine could leave Azovstal, laying down their arms.

"They were urged to stop the fighting. At the same time, the Kyiv regime did everything to ensure that civilians, military personnel and militants were at the plant and did not leave. It was the Russian side that called on the UN to use its influence on the Kyiv regime so that people could get out. Later, together with the UN and the ICRC, Russia organized humanitarian corridors. Let me emphasize that it was our initiative to announce and open them," said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Russian Defence Ministry spokesperson Major General Igor Konashenkov said today that high-precision airborne missiles of the Russian Air Force hit seven command posts of Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well 11 warehouses of missile and artillery weapons and ammunition in the areas of the settlements of Bakhmut, Konstantinovka, Ilyinka and Minkovka of the Donetsk People's Republic. The Russian planes have also destroyed 26 areas of concentration of manpower and military equipment of the Ukrainian forces since Wednesday.

"Operational-tactical and army aviation hit two command posts, as well as 58 areas of concentration of manpower and Ukrainian military equipment. In total, as a result of air strikes, more than 340 nationalists were killed, 62 units of military equipment were disabled," said the ministry spokesperson in Moscow on Thursday.

A division of S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems in the Bolshie Lomzaki region of the Nikolaev region and a division of the Buk-M1 air defence system in the Slavyanogorsk region of the Donetsk People's Republic have also been destroyed by Russia.

In total, since the beginning of the operation, the Russian forces have destroyed 172 aircraft, 125 helicopters, 942 unmanned aerial vehicles, 313 anti-aircraft missile systems, 3158 tanks and other armuored combat vehicles, 395 multiple rocket launchers, 1562 field artillery guns and mortars, as well as 3026 units of special military vehicles of Ukraine.

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