On Thursday, May 26, military historian Nikita Buranov, in an interview with Izvestia, assessed the likelihood of the military Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) hiding on the territory of the Azovstal plant in Mariupol.
According to him, the Ukrainian military may indeed be on the territory of the plant, since Azovstal is a large complex with many underground facilities and “there is where to hide.” However, according to him, the military personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine from Azovstal do not pose a serious danger to the Russian army: the enemy is already demoralized and defeated, and there are no serious units left there in terms of the number of weapons.
“Yes, indeed, they can shoot around the corner or commit some meanness, but no more. In general, this is not fraught with any significant losses,” Buranov added.
The expert added that it will take time to fully inspect Azovstal, where one can “stumble upon surprises”, as the nationalists from Azov fear responsibility for their crimes and seek to hide.
Earlier that day, the head of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Denis Pushilin, said that Azovstal had been found hiding during the surrender of the military of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
On May 20, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation announced the complete liberation of the territory of the Azovstal plant. According to the agency, since May 16, 2,439 militants of the radical nationalist group “Azov” and military personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine have surrendered during the Russian special operation.
Later, Russian sapper units began to carry out engineering reconnaissance and demining from explosive objects on the territory of the plant. Specialized armored demining vehicles are involved in work in the most dangerous areas.
On February 24, Russia announced the start of a special operation to protect Donbass. As Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov clarified, the goals of the special operation include the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine. Both of these aspects pose a threat to the Russian state and people, he pointed out.
The operation began against the backdrop of the situation in the Donbass that worsened in mid-February. The authorities of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics reported increased shelling by Ukrainian troops, announced the evacuation of civilians to the Russian Federation and asked for recognition of independence. On February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the relevant decrees.