MOSCOW, May 19. /TASS/. Over 770 militants of Ukraine’s Azov nationalist battalion surrendered at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol in the past 24 hours, with a total of 1,730 Ukrainian forces laying down their arms, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said on Thursday.
"In the past 24 hours, 771 militants of the Azov nationalist battalion holed up in the Azovstal steel works surrendered. Overall, 1,730 militants, including 80 wounded servicemen, have surrendered since May 16," the spokesman said.
All the Ukrainian servicemen who need in-patient care are receiving medical assistance at health institutions in Novoazovsk and Donetsk, the general said.
Russia’s Defense Ministry announced on May 17 that Ukrainian nationalists and forces sealed off at the Azovstal steel works in Mariupol had begun to surrender.
The battle of Mariupol lasted almost two months and ended in the victory of the Russian and Donetsk forces. On April 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu on the complete liberation of Mariupol.
The head of state then 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." By that time, over 2,000 Ukrainian forces or about a third of the city’s initial garrison were holed up in Azovstal, according to the Russian Defense Ministry’s data.