According to an official statement released by Russia’s defense ministry today, 959 Ukrainian troops have surrendered to their forces this week at the Azovstal steel plant complex stronghold in the besieged port city of Mariupol.
Although the Ukrainian government is yet to release any official report on the numbers, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister, Anna Malyar had earlier stated that more than 260 fighters had surrendered to Russian forces. The number tallied with numbers given by Russia at the time.
A spokesman from Russia’s ministry of defense told reporters that 694 fighters surrendered during the past 24 hours. Ukrainian officials have not confirmed the figures –
“The goal was that our guys, who heroically defend the city and restrain the enemy directly in Mariupol, did not allow them to pass through Mariupol,” Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko reportedly told VOA’s Ukrainian Service.
“That is, they saved the nation, they allowed the Armed Forces of Ukraine to prepare and other cities to be more prepared for this terrible war that has already taken place in Ukraine.” he finished.
However, Russia sees the surrender as a boost for its offensives, liberation of the Russian speaking parts of Ukraine that has faced oppression for years, and their military image. The complete takeover of Mariupol by Russia means Putin’s government can build more linking networks with the main land, the Crimean region and a buffer in the entire Donbass region and control of the Azov sea region.
The victory over Mariupol, Kherson and the final likely onslaught facing Odessa means Ukraine will be completely landlocked even after Russia has left; i.e whatever remains of the Western region of Ukraine.