Azov leadership orders battalion to stop fighting amid mass surrender
The military command of the Ukrainian Azov extremist battalion issued an order to stop the fighting in Mariupol. The Russian Ministry of Defense announced the total number of surrendering Ukrainian fighters.
Kiev ordered the remaining extremist Azov battalion troops holed up in Mariupol's besieged Azovstal steelworks to cease fighting, according to a commander of the battalion leading the imprisoned soldiers.
Denys Prokopenko, the previously mentioned commander, said in a video on Telegram that "The higher military command has given the order to save the lives of the soldiers of our garrison and to stop defending the city." He said there was an "ongoing process" to remove fighters who had been killed from the plant.
Despite the combatants surrendering unconditionally to the Donetsk people's militia and Russian forces, Kiev continues to be disconnected from reality claiming that the ongoing surrender is a mass rescue operation, as it refused to comment on such news that would endanger the efforts of the rescue.
According to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, 1,908 Ukrainian militants from the Azov neo-Nazi battalion (under criminal investigation in Russia) have surrendered after being trapped for weeks in the Azovstal steel mill in Mariupol.
Shoigu said that "the blockade of the Azovstal plant continues," adding that civilians who were held there by Ukrainian nationalists were evacuated from the territory of the plant — 177 people were saved, including 85 women and 47 children. Qualified medical and psychological assistance was provided to everyone.
"Nationalists blocked at the plant began to surrender. At the moment, 1,908 people have laid down their arms," Shoigu said at a ministry meeting.
Denis Pushilin, head of the breakaway Donetsk People's Republic, which now includes the city of Mariupol, said more than half the fighters had surrendered, and that the uninjured had been taken to a prison near Donetsk.
He told an online video channel: "Let them surrender, let them live, let them honestly face the charges for all their crimes."
On Thursday, Russia's defense ministry announced that 1,730 Ukrainian soldiers had surrendered this week at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, a Ukrainian port city in the south.
Earlier, Russia's Ministry of Justice announced that the Supreme Court of Russia will consider on May 26 recognizing the Ukrainian Azov regiment as a terrorist organization.
The Azov battalion: openly neo-Nazi, unlimited international support
The Azov battalion is a part of the Ukrainian National Guard - a wing of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The battalion flaunts is Nazism very openly and is even notoriously known for a video in which they crucified a soldier, tortured him, and burnt him alive.
The United States and Canada over the years have aided the neo-Nazi units with weapons and training, strengthening their presence in Ukraine.
In early March, the Russian envoy to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia emphasized that Zelensky has shown his inability to withstand radicals in Kiev, while adding that the real power in Ukraine belongs to extremists and Nazis, who have their own agenda.