MOSCOW, February 25. /TASS/. The Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) garrison of 82 servicemen at the Snake (Zmeiny) Island in the Black Sea voluntarily surrendered to the Russian Armed Forces, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov announced Friday.
"In the area of the Snake Island, 82 Ukrainian servicemen laid down their weapons and voluntarily surrendered to the Russian Armed Forces. Currently, they are signing written vows to reject military resistance. They will be returned to their families shortly," Konashenkov said.
According to the spokesman, 11 Ukrainian servicemen of the UAF 53rd Armored Brigade surrendered near Nikolayevsk. One UAF Marine unit from the 36th Marine Brigade contacted the DPR People’s Militia and requested a corridor to the republic. After they surrender their weapons, they will be able to return to their families.
"Once the situation in the combat area is stabilized, all surrendered Ukrainian servicemen will be let go home," the spokesman underscored.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address on Thursday morning that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation in order to protect people "who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years." The Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans of occupying Ukrainian territories.
When clarifying the developments unfolding, the Russian Defense Ministry reassured that Russian troops are not targeting Ukrainian cities, but are limited to surgically striking and incapacitating Ukrainian military infrastructure. There are no threats whatsoever to the civilian population.