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From 1,000 to 2,500 Ukrainian nationalists holed up in Azovstal steel complex — DPR head

As for mercenaries, the figure that is still mentioned is about 400 gunmen, Denis Pushilin also noted

MOSCOW, April 25. /TASS/. From 1,000 to 2,500 Ukrainian nationalists and about 400 foreign mercenaries are holed up in the Azovstal steel complex in Mariupol, Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Denis Pushilin said on Monday.

"As for their number, generally very approximate figures are available: from 1,000 to 2,500 and this is the data most frequently reported by various sources, including from prisoners of war," the DPR head said in a live broadcast on the Rossiya-1 TV channel, speaking about the strength of Ukrainian militants and nationalists entrenched in the Azovstal steel complex.

"As for mercenaries, the figure that is still mentioned is about 400 gunmen," Pushilin said. "We will still have to establish the authentic list of them. So far, we can talk about the list of countries and these are Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Romania and some other European countries," Pushilin said.

Russia and the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) are offering Ukrainian nationalists to lay down their arms and save their lives, the DPR head said.

"Few days have remained until the nationalists are eliminated. It is no longer a secret for anyone, including for our enemy," Pushilin said.

If facts are established that surrendered Ukrainian nationalists committed war crimes, they will face trial and punishment that they deserve in the DPR, he added.

"They have several options: to exit with a white flag and then a court will take a decision considering the war crimes that they committed or they will die at Azovstal. There are no other variants," the DPR head explained.

No humanitarian corridor from Azovstal to the territory controlled by the Kiev regime or to third countries will be provided to the Ukrainian nationalists, he stressed.

As of now, there is no reliable data that there could be civilians on the premises of the steel factory, Pushilin said.

"There is still no 100% confirmation of the presence of civilians there," the DPR head said.

The remnants of the Ukrainian combat group in Mariupol have been sealed off on the premises of the Azovstal steel complex while the rest of the city has been fully cleared of Ukrainian forces. According to the data of Russia’s Defense Ministry, not more than 2,500 Ukrainian nationalists, including personnel of the Azov nationalist battalion and foreign mercenaries, are holed up in the Azovstal steel works. Russian forces have repeatedly urged them to lay down their arms.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin handed down a directive calling off a looming assault on Azovstal as inexpedient and ordered that the industrial zone there be tightly sealed off so that even a fly "couldn’t get through." He also instructed to again offer the remaining Ukrainian nationalists holed up there to surrender, stressing that the Russian side would guarantee that their lives would be spared and that they would be given humane treatment. In addition, those wounded were promised medical assistance.