Denys Prokopenko, commander of the Azov National Guard of Ukraine detachment, called his wife Ekaterina by phone, who also received information that the Russians were holding Ukrainian fighters in satisfactory conditions.
Source: Ekaterina Prokopenko in The Guardian commentary
Details: After leaving the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, Denis Prokopenko (Redis) was able to make a short phone call to his wife Ekaterina. Whether he could speak freely is unknown.
Direct speech: “He said that he was doing well, and asked how I was.
I heard from other sources that the conditions are more or less satisfactory. They are fed and given water. The conditions are adequate and in this short period they have not been subjected to violence.
What will happen next, of course, we do not know, but now there are third parties – the UN and the Red Cross – who control the situation.”
Details: According to available information, most of the wounded Azov fighters are being held by Russians in a prison in the village of Yelenovka, while a smaller group of seriously wounded fighters are in a hospital in the city of Novoazovsk in the occupied part of Donetsk region.
VIDEO OF THE DAY
Prokopenko said that, as far as she knew, none of the fighters were taken to Russia.
Ekaterina Prokopenko founded an independent organization to support Azovstal fighters, and this is not only Azov, but also marines, border guards, and policemen.
“The goal of the organization is to organize weekly calls with prisoners, debunk Russian fakes about our guys, provide them with a satisfactory situation: bed, medicine, water and food, and campaign for their speedy release.” – said Catherine.
According to The Guardian, at least 1,000 Ukrainian fighters, including members of the Azov Battalion, were moved into Russian-controlled territory last week, after which Russian troops seized the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.
Previously, the only news about the conditions for the stay of the defenders of Mariupol came from the Russians. The International Committee of the Red Cross, which monitors the conditions of detention of prisoners of war, did not comment on the situation.
This was preceded by:
On May 20, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that all the fighters had already been withdrawn and that since May 16, 2,439 people, whom the Russians consider prisoners of war, have left the bunkers.
The commander of Azov, Denis Prokopenko, stated that the seriously wounded soldiers from the Azovstal plant should be delivered to the territory controlled by Ukraine through an exchange, and in relation to the dead defenders, he hoped that their relatives would be able to bury them in the near future.
Read also: Commander of “Azov” Denis Prokopenko (Redis): We did everything possible and impossible to pull the superior forces of the enemy
Mariupol was blocked by Russian troops on March 1. Since the end of April, the defenders of Mariupol have been blocked at the Azovstal plant: they are representatives of the Azov National Guard Regiment, marines, border guards, and policemen. The marines asked for “extraction”, “Azov” – at least for the evacuation of wounded soldiers.
Civilians were evacuated in early May, but Russia rejected all options for evacuating fighters for a long time, although Turkey was ready to take them out by sea and guarantee that they would not participate in hostilities in Ukraine until the end of the war.
On May 16, the Russians continued their attempts to enter the plant or block the exit from the Azovstal bunkers, and then announced that they had agreed with the Ukrainian defenders to take the wounded soldiers to the occupied territory.
The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine stated that the Mariupol garrison had completed its combat mission and now the commanders have an order to save the lives of the personnel.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the defenders of Mariupol should be released under the exchange procedure and returned home. Exchange was not ruled out in Russia, but some occupiers want a trial for them.