DPR official: Senior Western military officers may remain in Azovstal
An advisor to DPR's head says high-ranking military officers from Western countries may remain in Azovstal plant.
Yan Gagin, an advisor to the Donetsk People's Republic's (DPR) head said on Saturday that senior military officers from France, the UK, and the US are currently present in the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, according to Sputnik
The area is currently blocked off by Russian and DPR allied forces.
Gagin confirmed the presence of senior military officers from foreign states on the ground in the area: "This is claimed by Azov fighters themselves, those who were captured, those who surrendered, laid down their arms, and civilians who came out of there," he said.
As to the military officers' countries of origin, Gagin said they are presumably from the US, UK and France.
"This is implicitly indicated by the attempts to unlock the Azov fighters at Azovstal and the attempts by foreign states to reach an agreement, particularly often phone calls, pleas by [French] President [Emmanuel] Macron among others."
Russia's President had declared that the storming of the plant was unreasonable, and ordered that the plant zone be blocked. Putin noted, in a phone conversation with the EU Council President, Charles Michel, who urged an opening of humanitarian corridors from Mariupol late April, that the storming of the Azovstal plant was set aside, and that everyone who laid down their arms was ensured safety.
The Kremlin announced Thursday that humanitarian corridors to get civilians out of Mariupol's Azovstal steel plant were functioning, after the Russian army announced a three-day ceasefire at the site.
"The corridors are functioning today," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, adding that the steelworks remained besieged by Russian forces.
Earlier, the Russian military has declared a fresh unilateral pause in its operation at the Azovstal steelworks complex in Mariupol, offering to provide humanitarian corridors for people who are believed to have been trapped within the site for three days.
The steel factory is the city's final stronghold controlled by the Ukrainian military and members of the neo-Nazi Azov battalion.