The Russian Defense Ministry announced that a large shipment of weapons sent by the West to Kiev was destroyed by long-range missiles in northwestern Ukraine. Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov announced that the last group of Ukrainian soldiers at the Azovstal steel plant, which continues the resistance against Russia in Mariupol, has been taken over and the factory has been completely evacuated.
The Russian Defense Ministry announced today that a large shipment of weapons sent to Kiev was destroyed by long-range missiles in the northwest of Ukraine.
“A large number of weapons and military equipment delivered from the US and European countries were destroyed by Kalibr missiles near the Malin railway station in the Zhytomyr region,” the ministry said in a statement.
‘IT WOULD BE A LEGITIMATE TARGET’ HE WARNED
Russia, which has often warned about the weapons sent by the West to Ukraine, said that it would not allow foreign countries to supply weapons to Ukraine, declaring, “Any cargo that enters Ukrainian territory, which we think is carrying weapons, will be a legitimate target.”
Russian President Putin, in his meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, warned the West about arms aid and said, “The West can stop this atrocity by stopping the supply of weapons to Ukraine.”
AZOVSTAL COMPLETELY EVACUATED
Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov made statements about the latest situation of the war. Spokesman Konashenkov reported that the last Ukrainian soldiers at the Azovstal steel plant also surrendered.
“The Azovstal factory in Mariupol, which was blocked since April 21 by a group of Ukrainian soldiers attached to the Azov battalion, has been completely liberated. The factory site, where the soldiers were hiding, passed completely under the control of the Russian Armed Forces. The last group of 531 Ukrainian soldiers surrendered.”
A TOTAL OF 2,439 UKRAINIAN MILITARY DELIVERIES WERE DELIVERED
Konashenkov said that the commander of the Azov battalion was removed from the factory in a special armored vehicle, adding that a total of 2,439 Ukrainian soldiers have surrendered their weapons since May 16.
Konashenkov said Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu informed Russian President Vladimir Putin that the operation had been completed, that the factory site and the city of Mariupol had been completely liberated from Ukrainian troops.
UKRAINE GIVES ‘STOP’ ORDER
Ukraine yesterday ordered soldiers at Mariupol’s besieged Azovstal steel plant to “stop the war.”
The soldiers, who had been blockaded in steel mills for weeks, had become a symbol of Ukraine’s fierce resistance to the Russian invasion.
WHY IS SYMBOLIC VICTORY IMPORTANT?
The city in southern Ukraine is strategically important for its land connection to Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. The fall of the Azovstal steel plant means that Moscow could open a land corridor between Russia and the annexed Crimean territories.
The symbolic victory will also secure for Russia an important port in the Sea of Azov and give Russian troops a great advantage for the war in the Donbas region.
THE STATUS OF THE SOLDIERS IS UNCLEAR
Russia announced that the soldiers released from the Azovstal Steel Plant after surrendering were placed in a former prison complex in the Donetsk region. Although Ukraine said that the soldiers would be exchanged for captured Russian soldiers, the statements coming from Russia on this issue confused the minds.
In Russia, some lawmakers argue that Ukrainian soldiers should be treated as war criminals. “Nazi criminals cannot be the subject of barter,” said Vyacheslav Volodin, head of the Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament. Another prominent politician proposed the reinstatement of the death penalty for captured Ukrainian soldiers, while Leonid Slutsky, who had previously been part of the delegation to the peace negotiations with Ukraine, referred to the prisoners as “animals disguised as human beings.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not respond to questions about whether Ukrainian soldiers would be considered prisoners of war or “war criminals.”