‘Surrender is not an option’, say Ukrainian forces in Azovstal

Ukrainian forces entrenched in the Azovstal steelworks, the last stronghold of resistance against the Russian army in the devastated port city of Mariupol (southeast), said on Sunday (8) that they would not surrender.

“Surrendering is not an option because Russia is not interested in our lives,” Ilya Somoilenko, an intelligence officer for the Azov battalion, said during a video-streamed press conference.

“We, all the soldiers in the Mariupol garrison, witnessed the war crimes perpetrated by Russia, by the Russian army,” he added.

“All our supplies are limited. We still have water. We still have ammunition. We have our personal weapons. We will fight until the situation is resolved as best we can,” said Samoilenko, who spoke in Ukrainian and English at the conference.

Many civilians were there with Ukrainian fighters in disrepair until the last women, children and elderly people were evacuated on Saturday, according to the Ukrainian government.

According to Kiev, evacuation operations, sponsored by the UN and the Red Cross, allowed for the evacuation of around 500 people in a week.

Mariupol, a southeastern port city that had around 500,000 inhabitants before the war, was almost completely destroyed after two months of Russian bombing.

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