Russian-backed separatists say 900 Ukrainian soldiers have surrendered at the steel plant, challenging earlier figures.

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The Russian-controlled Donetsk administration said more than 900 Ukrainian soldiers handed over the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, a much higher number than previously reported.

“In total, 962 Ukrainian militants surrendered from the territory of the Azovstal metallurgical plant in Mariupol,” the Donetsk People’s Republic Territorial Defense Headquarters (DPR) said.

REMAINING UKRAINIAN SOLDIERS EVACUATED FROM MARIUPOL STEEL PLANT: ZELENSKYY

The DPR is the official name of the Russian-backed separatist group in Donetsk.

Smoke rises from the Azovstal Metallurgical Combine in Mariupol, Wednesday, May 4, 2022. (Donetsk People’s Republic Ministry of Internal Affairs Press Service via AP)
(Press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Donetsk People’s Republic via AP)

Mixed reports have emerged about the number of Ukrainian personnel who were evacuated from the plant following its surrender, with early estimates putting the number between a few hundred and 1,000, Ukraine’s military said.

UKRAINE STRIKES AGREEMENT TO EVACUATE AROUND 50 INJURED FIGHTERS FROM MARIUPOL AZOVSTAL FACTORY

The last figure comes as own of the DPR report the day before he said: “256 Ukrainian militants had surrendered.”

Smoke rises over the Mariupol Azovstal Iron and Steel Works on April 21.

Smoke rises over the Mariupol Azovstal Iron and Steel Works on April 21.
(REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy confirmed the evacuation of Ukrainian troops during his late-night speech on Monday, without disclosing the exact number of troops that were evacuated.

“Ukraine needs living Ukrainian heroes. This is our principle. I believe that every proper person will understand these words,” Zelenskyy said.

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Most of the personnel who were evacuated were sent to Russian-controlled cities, Ukraine’s military said.

“Thanks to the actions of the Ukrainian army – the Armed Forces of Ukraine, intelligence, the negotiating team, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations, we hope to be able to save the lives of our boys. Among them are the seriously injured, they are being given medical assistance,” Zelenskyy added.

A serviceman from the Azov Special Forces Regiment inside the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Tuesday, May 10, 2022. (Dmytro 'Orest' Kozatskyi/Azov Special Forces Regiment Guards Press Office Ukrainian National via AP)

A serviceman from the Azov Special Forces Regiment inside the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine, on Tuesday, May 10, 2022. (Dmytro ‘Orest’ Kozatskyi/Azov Special Forces Regiment Guards Press Office Ukrainian National via AP)
(Dmytro ‘Orest’ Kozatskyi/Azov Special Forces Regiment of the Ukrainian National Guard Press Office via AP)

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Among those trapped under the Azovstal steel plant were civilians and Ukrainian forces, many seriously wounded and missing, while Russian forces occupied the rest of the city.

Humanitarian corridors were opened for some of the civilians after successful negotiations. Many of the civilians were also taken to Russian-occupied territories.

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