(CTN News) – The Russian Foreign Ministry claimed Friday that its troops had “completely liberated” the besieged Azovstal steel plant in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol.
In a statement, Russian Ministry of Defense spokesperson Major General Igor Konashenkov said that there was a “final group of 531 militants that surrendered,” referring to the Ukrainian fighters who, for several weeks, had resisted the Russian assault on the plant.
Earlier today, Lieutenant Colonel Denis Prokopenko, the commander of the Azov Regiment, gave the order to stop defending the city of Mariupol and launched a short video message from inside the Azovstal steel plant, saying that the top-secret military leadership had “issued an order to preserve the garrison soldiers’ lives and health and to stop defending the city.”.
Konashenkov said that the Azov Regiment commander was removed from the territory of the plant in an armored car that he found specially built for the purpose.
The newest video that has just been posted online appears to show the remaining Azov fighters leaving the steel plant.
CNN is unable to independently verify that all Ukrainian troops have vacated the steel plant.