MOSCOW, APril 20. /TASS/. Over 3,000 Ukrainian troops have surrendered in Donbass since Russia’s special military operation began on February 24, First Deputy Information Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) Daniil Bezsonov told the Soloviev Live TV channel on Wednesday.
"The total number of prisoners of war exceeds 3,000 in the two republics (the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics - TASS)," he said.
Bezsonov added that five Ukrainian troops had surrendered on Tuesday at the Azovstal steel plant in the city of Mariupol. According to the DPR official, it was the result of the DPR militia dropping leaflets calling for surrender.
Tensions escalated along the line of contact in Donbass on February 17. The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics reported the heaviest shelling by the Ukrainian Armed Forces in months. On February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the recognition of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. On February 24, Putin announced a special military operation based on a request from the heads of the Donbass republics.