Kyiv: Russia declared victory over the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol saying the last fighters defending the city’s steel plant have now surrendered.
“Underground structures of Azovstal where militants were hiding are now under full control of Russian armed forces,” Russia’s defence ministry said late on Friday, marking an end to the months-long battle to conquer the Ukrainian port city.
The city and its steel plant are now “completely liberated” after 531 Ukrainian troops left the site, the ministry said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the site’s last remaining defenders had been given permission to leave, reports BBC.
“Today the boys received a clear signal from the military command that they can get out and save their lives,” he told a Ukrainian television channel earlier on Friday.
The port city was surrounded by Russian forces for weeks and many of those trapped inside were civilians, including women, children and elderly people. According to the report, the forces blocked all humanitarian aid from entering, bombarded the site from the air and demanded its remaining defenders put down their weapons.