By Batko Milacic for the Saker Blog
On the night of May 17, after brief negotiations, Ukrainian army units, blocked by Russian troops at Azovstal in Mariupol, began to surrender. Initially, it was announced that the Ukrainian military wanted to hand over to Russia their wounded whose condition in the cellars of a huge factory was hopeless. However, it soon became clear that the entire “Mariupol garrison” as the remnants of the nationalist volunteer regiment “Azov” and the units of the Ukrainian army that had joined it were called by the Kiev-controlled media, were laying down their arms. So, on the morning of May 17, 90 wounded soldiers were pulled out of the basements and were joined by more than 250 healthy, albeit exhausted and filthy fighters. In a few days, that number reached 2,500 Ukrainian soldiers. That’s why we wonder, what fate awaits them and other members of the Ukrainian army who surrender to Russian troops?
For President Zelensky and his team, Azovstal was a kind of a sacred symbol of Mariupol’s resistance. Many hopes were pinned on the Azov Regiment, considered a terrorist organization in Russia. First of all, those in Kiev believed that the nationalists would hold out to the end and die as heroes, especially since in Russia they face a trial. And they will be lucky if it is in Russia, because in the DPR, unlike in the Russian Federation, they have the death penalty. And still, the Azov fighters began to surrender.