Russia accused of ‘cheating’ Azovstal fighters who could now be tried as ‘Nazis’ – World News

Ukrainian fighters holed up at the Azovstal Steelworks surrendered after a prisoner swap agreement, but now Russian MPs are demanding they be tried as “Nazi war criminals”.

More than 250 Ukrainian soldiers surrendered from Azovstal Steel Plant
More than 250 Ukrainian soldiers surrendered from Azovstal Steel Plant

Ukrainian militants who surrendered at the Azovstal steelworks could now be tried as “Nazi war criminals” after being told they would be released in a prisoner swap.

Russia has been accused of making false promises after it agreed to exchange Ukrainians still fighting in Mariupol if they give up their resistance.

Members of the Azov regiment had stubbornly continued to fight Vladimir Putin’s forces in the huge steel mill with a maze of tunnels that made it difficult for them to defeat them.

More than 250 Ukrainian soldiers surrendered after weeks of desperate resistance, ending the most devastating siege of the Russian war in Ukraine.

But now Russia’s parliament has announced it will vote on a resolution not to allow the “exchange of Nazi war criminals,” and some MPs have called for their execution.

Russian authorities have said the detainees are now being interrogated



Vyacheslav Volodin, Speaker of the Russian Parliament, said: “They are war criminals and we must do everything we can to bring them to justice.”

Russian MP Leonid Slutsky called for the troops to be executed.

He said, “They don’t deserve to live by the monstrous crimes against humanity they have committed and are constantly committing against our prisoners.”

Putin had personally assured the prisoners would be treated according to international standards, and Ukrainian officials said they could be swapped out for Russian prisoners.

The Azovstal steelworks became the last stand by the Ukrainian fighters



The TASS news agency said a Russian committee plans to question the soldiers, many of them members of the Azov battalion, as part of an investigation into what Moscow calls “crimes committed by the Ukrainian regime”.

With some fighters still at the Azovstal Steelworks, any withdrawal of the agreement would result in a collapse of further surrenders and prisoner exchanges.

Vladislav Davidzon, a Russia expert at the Atlantic Council think tank, reportedly said: “A change in the law by Russian lawmakers could derail any prisoner exchange. It shows how sneaky Putin and his cronies are in the dishonorable way they wage war. “

The complete capture of Mariupol is Russia’s biggest victory since it launched a so-called “military special operation” on February 24.

Ukrainian fighters gave up understanding that they would be part of a prisoner exchange



But the port is in ruins, and Ukraine believes tens of thousands of people have been killed by months of Russian bombing.

Russia said at least 256 Ukrainian fighters “lay down their arms and surrendered,” including 51 seriously wounded.

Ukraine said 264 soldiers, including 53 wounded, left.

Russian Defense Ministry video showed fighters leaving the factory, some carried on stretchers, others with their hands raised to be searched by Russian troops.

The Russian parliament is demanding that the prisoners be brought to justice



While both sides spoke of an agreement under which all Ukrainian troops would leave the steelworks, many details were not yet public, including how many fighters were still inside and whether any form of prisoner exchanges had been agreed.

Deputy Defense Minister of Ukraine Hanna Malyar said at a briefing that Kyiv will not disclose how many fighters remained inside until everyone is safe.

The military said units in Azovstal had completed their combat mission, and Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said Kyiv wanted to arrange a prisoner exchange for the wounded once their condition stabilized, but neither side announced the terms of any specific deal.

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