MOSCOW, May 18. /TASS/. Ukrainian militants and troops entrenched in the Azovstal steel complex in Mariupol continue surrendering, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said on Wednesday.
"Militants from the Azov nationalist battalion and Ukrainian troops at the besieged Azovstal steelmaking complex in Mariupol continue surrendering," Konashenkov said. "Over the past day, 694 militants, including 29 wounded, surrendered."
He added that since May 16 the figure of the surrendered troops at the steelmaking complex reached 959, including 80 wounded with 51 of them requiring in-ward medical assistance at a hospital in Novoazovsk, in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).
The Russian Defense Ministry announced on Tuesday that 256 Ukrainian militants surrendered on May 17 from the territory of the Azovstal steel works in Mariupol, adding that there were 51 wounded militants among those captured.
According to the ministry, an agreement had been reached on Monday with the Ukrainian troops sealed off on the territory of the Azovstal steel plant on extracting wounded Ukrainian military personnel from the plant.
The ministry also said that a ceasefire was in effect in the area around the enterprise and an evacuation corridor had been opened for wounded Ukrainian servicemen, through which they were being delivered to a health institution in Novoazovsk in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) for receiving all required medical assistance.
The Ukrainian side earlier reported that 53 heavily wounded Ukrainian militants had been evacuated from Azovstal on May 16 to Novoazovsk controlled by the DPR forces and 211 Ukrainian troops had been taken to Yelenovka through a humanitarian corridor.
At a meeting with Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu on April 21, 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."
Defense Minister Shoigu said at a conference call on May 4 that the remnants of the Ukrainian combat group had been reliably sealed off along the entire perimeter of the Azovstal steel complex while the Russian forces continued attempts to persuade them to lay down their arms. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on May 4 that the Russian troops were not storming the plant’s territory but were suppressing the attempts by the Ukrainian militants holed up there to assume firing positions.