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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Head of Azov Battalion In Custody After 2,439 Total Fighters Surrender

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The leader of Azov battalion has been taken from the Azovstal steel plant in a special armored vehicle and is in custody after 2,439 total fighters surrendered, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said on Friday.

The ministry said it counted 2,439 defenders who had emerged and surrendered over the past few days.

The final holdout group that was last to come out was tallied at 531. The Russian military now has total control over the sprawling plant and city of Mariupol, which is considered to be its greatest victory over three months of war.

Russia announced that “The territory of the Azovstal metallurgical plant … has been completely liberated.” Further, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu informed President Putin of the city’s complete ‘liberation’.

Crucially, there are Russian and other international press reports saying that the head of Azov is now in Russian military custody: “The Russian Defense Ministry also confirmed the surrender of Denis Prokopenko, the commander of the so-called Azov battalion – a far-right military unit of neo-Nazi volunteers operating in Ukraine as a reserve force of the country’s Armed Forces,” according to the reports.

Though there’s been little in the way of confirmation, Russia’s Channel One correspondent Irina Kuksenkova said that Azov leaders Denys Prokopenko, Sviatoslav Palamar and Serhiy “Volyna” (Ukrainian Marine commander) have now all surrendered.

The Guardian wrote the following of at least one of these high-level commanders:

Pro-Kremlin telegram channels also released a video with Sergei Volynsky, the commander of the 36th Marine Brigade unit, in which he said that his unit has surrendered. The unit was one of the main forces defending the steelworks.

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