More than 1,000 Ukrainian servicemen still remain in Azovstal, says Kiev

More than 1,000 Ukrainian soldiers, including hundreds of wounded, still remain at the Azovstal steelworks complex, surrounded by Russian troops in Mariupol, the Ukrainian deputy prime minister told France-Presse (AFP) on Tuesday.

After the evacuation of all civilians with the help of the UN last week, “more than a thousand” soldiers, including “hundreds of wounded”, remain in the underground galleries of this vast industrial complex, Iryna Vereshchuk told AFP by telephone.

“There are serious injuries that require an urgent withdrawal,” said the Ukrainian deputy prime minister.

Iryna Vereshchuk also denied the information that there were still civilians in the steel plant, passed on by two regional authorities.

“This is not true,” said the deputy prime minister, noting that the leader of the Azov regiment “officially stated” to Ukrainian government officials and a UN representative “that no civilians, women, children or elderly people remained in Azovstal”.

Mariupol mayor Vadym Boychenko declined to say whether he was “100% certain” that all Azovstal civilians had been evacuated, stressing that “it is not possible” to verify this until there is a lasting ceasefire.

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