Relatives worry about the fate of Ukrainian soldiers captured by Russian forces in Mariupol. They demanded that the rights of prisoners of war be respected and that they be returned to Ukraine at some point.
On Friday, convoys of buses left the Azovstal plant where the last Ukrainian soldiers in Mariupol had been resisting the Russian invasion in recent weeks. Russia said on Friday that its last soldiers had surrendered. A number of prisoners of war were transferred to a former penal colony, and others were treated in hospital, according to the Russian authorities.
Denis Pushlin, the pro-Russian leader of a region in eastern Ukraine, said Ukrainian prisoners of war “will be brought before a court with certainty” and that “justice must be restored”. In the Russian state media, Ukrainian soldiers in Mariupol are often portrayed as neo-Nazis and criminals, since they were also members of the far-right Azov Regiment.
Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Irina Verychuk said on Saturday that Ukraine will fight for the return of every military prisoner.
Russia says the last Ukrainian soldier at the Azovstal plant surrendered on Friday. These will be images of that:
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Read the live blog about the war in Ukraine from Friday, March 31 here