Russia reiterates offer for Azovstal militants to lay down arms
Russia extends another olive branch to the Ukrainian nationalist battalion militants and mercenaries in Mariupol if they lay down their arms, stressing that their lives would be spared.
The Russian Armed Forces have renewed their offer for nationalist Ukrainian militants and foreign mercenaries remaining at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol to halt their hostilities and lay down their arms from 11 AM GMT on Wednesday, Russian National Defense Center chief Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev said Tuesday.
Mizintsev cited Moscow's forces' humane principles as the reason behind the offer, underlining to the militants that they were "guaranteed life" if they took the Russian offer and complied with Russia's conditions.
"Despite the absence of any elementary actions on the part of the Kiev authorities to save the military personnel of their country, and also realizing the complete irresponsibility of officials of the Kiev regime for the predicted sad outcome of resistance in the remaining hearth of Mariupol, the Russian Armed Forces [...] again offer [militants] to lay down their arms," Mizintsev told a press briefing.
"The leadership of the Russian Federation guarantees the preservation of life, complete safety, and the provision of qualified medical care to all those who laid down their arms," he stressed.
Mizintsev recalled how Russia treated the Ukrainian marines who laid down their arms and surrendered, saying it repeatedly and already "confirmed its humane attitude towards prisoners of war" in addition to its full compliance with the international humanitarian law.
"The Russian side guarantees compliance with the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war," he noted.
Mizintsev also explained that an algorithm of actions was provided for the practical implementation of the measures of this regular humanitarian operation.
Russia will transmit information about the next opportunity for the militants and mercenaries surrounded at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol via radio channels every 30 minutes, the Russian official announced.
He also underscored that his urgent statement was subject to immediate publication and communication to the United Nations, the OSCE, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and other international organizations, as well as the diplomatic missions of all foreign states via all communication channels and information sources available.
Mizintsev had said Saturday the Russian Armed Forces offered militants from nationalist battalions and foreign mercenaries imprisoned in Mariupol the opportunity to end hostilities and lay down arms at 3 AM GMT on Sunday, April 17, in exchange for their lives being spared.
"Given the catastrophic situation at the Azovstal iron and steelworks, and out of purely humane principles, the Russian Armed Forces offer the militants from nationalist battalions and foreign mercenaries to end hostilities and lay down arms from 06:00 Moscow time on April 17, 2022. The lives of all those who lay down their arms will be spared," he announced.
All of Mariupol's urban area has been cleared of Ukrainian troops, with more than 4,000 soldiers eliminated over the past day alone, the Russian Defense Ministry said Saturday.
"The entire urban territory of Mariupol is completely secured from the militants of the Nazi unit Azov, foreign mercenaries, and Ukrainian troops. The remnants of the Ukrainian force are currently completely locked at the metallurgical plant Azovstal," Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.
Earlier that day, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Kiev would walk away from the negotiations table with Russia if its troops in Mariupol are eliminated.
Mariupol has been a playground for Ukrainian provocations since the war broke out in the country on February 24. The Russian Defense Ministry had revealed that Ukrainian nationalists in Mariupol used about 150 civilians as human shields and opened fire against DPR fighters from behind the civilians' backs.
Azov battalion militants had also opened fire against civilians during evacuations from the city, resulting in the death of two people and the injury of four others, the DPR reported last month.