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Mariupol falls to Russian forces as defending troops evacuated

BBC, 18 May 2022
The siege of Mariupol is all but over as hundreds of its Ukrainian defenders finally abandoned the steel plant where they had held out for months under relentless bombardment.

More than 260 Ukrainian soldiers, some of them seriously wounded, have left the ruins of the Azovstal steel plant and turned themselves over to Russian forces.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukrainian military, intelligence and negotiating teams, as well as the Red Cross and the UN were involved in the evacuation operation.

It’s not clear what will now happen to the Ukrainian troops. Ukraine hopes that they will be freed in an exchange with Russian prisoners.

While Russia called the operation a surrender, the Ukrainians said Mariupol’s defenders had successfully completed their mission to tie down Russian forces.

Huw Edwards presents BBC News at Ten reporting by Laura Bicker and Lyse Doucet in Ukraine.

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