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17 May 2022

Ukraine Russia war: Zelenskyy orders soldiers to leave ‘scorched earth’ Mariupol

Correspondent

It’s become a huge symbol of Ukraine’s resistance against Russian invasion, in the midst of a city pulverised. Ukrainian fighters held out in the tunnels deep below the Azovstal steel plant, in Mariupol, under constant bombardment.

But they are a huge symbol for the Russians too – Ukraine’s Azov Battalion historically contained the far right elements Russia based its claims of denazification upon.

Now hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers have been taken on buses to Russian controlled territory.

Ukrainian hopes of a prisoner exchange are now looking uncertain. The Ukrainian soldiers were evacuated from the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, almost bringing to an end the last stand against the Russians. Some fighters are still inside the plant and their departure is still to be agreed.

But there’s been some success for Ukrainian forces in the country’s second city Kharkiv – where they have advanced almost to the Russian border.