Ukraine Ends Battle Over Mariupol Plant

Zelensky says it's time to evacuate 'Ukrainian heroes'
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2022 8:10 PM CDT
Battle Over Mariupol Steel Complex Ends
A resident carries a shovel Monday to clear the rubble from his house damaged by shelling in Kharkiv, Ukraine.   (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

(Newser) – The battle of the Azovstal steel complex in Mariupol is over, Ukraine announced Monday. The mission has turned to one of evacuation, President Volodymyr Zelensky said: "We hope to save the lives of our boys." He praised the troops who withstood the Russian attack for weeks while protecting civilians, the New York Times reports, saying they were an inspiration to the country. The fighting now will be to save those left at the plant. "There are severely wounded ones among them. They're receiving care," Zelensky said in his evening video address, per the Guardian. "Ukraine needs Ukrainian heroes alive."

Zelensky said the operation will require "discretion and time," per the BBC. A defense official said there will be an exchange with Russia to return evacuees. The official said 53 wounded fighters were taken to Novoazovsk in eastern Ukraine, a town held by Russian-backed rebels, and 211 more were taken elsewhere. The buses were accompanied by pro-Russian forces, per Reuters. Arrivals in Novoazovsk were seen being removed from the buses and placed on stretchers. "Defenders of Mariupol are the heroes of our time," an armed forces statement said. (Read more Russia-Ukraine conflict stories.)

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