In Mariupol, which once had a population of 450,000, fighting continues as the Donetsk People’s Republic and Russian forces sweep the city of remnants of Ukrainian troops and nationalist militias, including the neo-Nazi Azov battalion, which are still hiding in parts of the city.
The head of the Russian region of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, said on Tuesday that more than 1,000 Ukrainian Marines had surrendered in the city of Mariupol.
“More than 1,000 Marines of the Armed Forces of Ukraine surrendered today in Mariupol. There are hundreds of wounded among them. This is the right choice,” he wrote in a Telegram post.
According to Kadyrov, Ukrainian groups are breaking up one after another, as they do not know what to do with the wounded, nor do they understand where to go and what to do next in their fighting, and that “after all, resistance is useless, and there are practically no combat forces left.”
The Chechen leader added that only individual small groups of servicemen are currently in combat, which “for some reason are afraid to come out with a white flag to the Russian troops.”
Kadyrov urged the Ukrainian troops “not to be afraid.” He also called on them to “think about your loved ones, the wounded, your own and others’ lives, about how a stray bullet can bring tragedy to your homes.”
He added that at the moment there are approximately 200 wounded hiding deep in the Azovstal plant area who cannot receive medical care.
Kadyrov emphasized that it would be better for the Ukrainian troops to stop fighting and return home.
“I appeal to those who are still holed up in the basements and tunnels of the plant: you know that we treat prisoners humanely. Come out! Think about your own and other families, as more than a thousand Marines did today,” he said.
Earlier in the day, reports about Marines surrendering to the Russian and the DPR forces emerged on social media.
Russian war correspondent Alexander Sladkov, in a series of posts on Telegram, shared footage from the alleged surrender of Ukrainian Marines to the troops of the DPR. According to him, among those who surrendered were about 300 wounded, 90 of whom could not move independently. The journalist estimated the number of Marines who surrendered on their feet at more than 800 people.
Moreover, also on Tuesday, the Russian Investigative Committee published a video of the interrogation of the surrendered deputy commander of the Ukrainian 36th Marine Brigade Rostislav Lomtev.
In the video, the commander said that in December 2021, as part of the brigade, he was conducting operations in the area of the so-called Joint Forces Operation in Donbass. He shared that the brigade later moved to the Azov plant, where they were eventually surrounded.
The officer explained that under “circumstances,” the command decided “to surrender our weapons in order to avoid unnecessary victims, and we all surrendered.”
‘They Have Written Us Off’
Prior to that, judging by the anonymous post on the brigade’s Facebook* page, the brigade continued fighting in the city and in the port without the support of the Ukrainian military leadership and gradually suffered significant losses and ran out of all the ammunition.
“It’s death for some of us, and captivity for the rest,” the post, written mostly in Russian, read, saying the brigade had been “pushed back” and “surrounded” by Russian troops.
According to the Monday-published post, “the mountain of wounded makes up almost half of the brigade.”
“No one wants to communicate with us anymore because they’ve written us off,” the Marines wrote, adding that their request to break out of the city was rejected by the command, which also “promised a helicopter that never arrived.”
Earlier, Valeriy Zaluzhny, the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, claimed that the line of communication with the troops in the city was “stable and maintained,” and that the country’s military was focused on saving as many servicemen as it could.
According to the Russian military, the recent battle has centered on the city’s Azovstal iron-and-steel complex and the port. As the head of the DPR, Denis Pushilin, stated on Monday, the port of Mariupol came under the control of the DPR forces.
According to the representative of the Donetsk People’s Militia, the residential area of the city was virtually liberated from Ukrainian militants, “there were disengaged fire pockets such as snipers or the ground units.”
On February 24, Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine in response to pleas for protection from Ukrainian soldiers by the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.
The special operation, which targets Ukrainian military infrastructure, aims to “demilitarize and denazify” Ukraine, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. The ministry stated that the Armed Forces strike only the Ukrainian troops, and by the end of March, they have completed the main tasks of the first stage of the operation, as they have significantly reduced the combat potential of the Ukrainian military.
Moscow has stated that it has no intention of occupying Ukraine. The main goal of the ongoing operation was said to be the liberation of Donbass.