Buses carrying service members of Ukrainian forces drive away under escort of the pro-Russian military in Mariupol. Reuters
The Russian parliament planned to take up a resolution on Wednesday to prevent the exchange of Azov Regiment fighters, who held out for months inside the Azovstal steelworks plant while Mariupol was under siege, according to Russian news agencies.
Fears for Mariupol defenders after surrender to Russia
Over 260 Ukrainian troops evacuated from Mariupol ceding control to Russia
Ukraine's deputy defence minister, Hanna Maliar, said negotiations for the fighters' release were ongoing, as were plans to rescue fighters who are still inside the sprawling steel mill. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said "the most influential international mediators are involved” in the plans. Officials have not said how many remain inside.
Ukrainian service members who have surrendered are seen inside a bus in Mariupol, Ukraine. Retuers
More than 260 Ukrainian fighters — some of them seriously wounded and taken out on stretchers — left the ruins of the Azovstal plant on Monday and turned themselves over to the Russian side in a deal negotiated by the warring parties. An additional seven buses carrying an unknown number of Ukrainian soldiers from the plant were seen arriving at a former penal colony Tuesday in the town of Olenivka, about 88 kilometres (55 miles) north of Mariupol.
While Russia called it a surrender, the Ukrainians avoided that word and instead said the plant’s garrison had successfully completed its mission to tie down Russian forces and was under new orders.
"To save their lives. Ukraine needs them. This is the main thing,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said.
With the fighters' departures, Mariupol was on the verge of falling under complete Russian control. Its capture would be the biggest city to be taken by Moscow’s forces and would give the Kremlin a badly needed victory, though the landscape has largely been reduced to rubble.
The soldiers who left the plant were searched by Russian troops, loaded onto buses and taken to two towns controlled by Moscow-backed separatists. More than 50 of the fighters were seriously wounded, according to both sides.
The swap, the culmination of longstanding requests by both countries as well as private diplomatic wrangling, took place in Turkey when "the two planes pulled up side by side, essentially, and then they got out,” said Reed's father, Joey.
Hours after the strikes, a Moscow-installed official in southern Ukraine said the Odesa and Mykolaiv regions would soon be "liberated” by Russian forces, just like the already occupied Kherson region further east.
Last Saturday, Russia struck another southern Ukrainian port of Odesa, casting doubt on a plan to restart Ukrainian grain exports.
Caretaker Information Minister Amir Mir confirmed Elahi's arrest, saying he was in his vehicle and "trying to flee" when he was arrested.
Social media users reacted strongly to the video and the villagers' predicament with comments slamming the concerned authorities for reneging on their promise to provide good rural connectivity.
The marriage of Crown Prince Hussein, 28, and Saudi architect Rajwa Al Saif, 29, drew a star-studded guest list including Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate, as well as US First Lady Jill Biden.
The authorities said that after the issuance of the visit visa, the tourist must enter the country within 60 days from the date of issuance, and the validity of the entry permit will be 30 days or 60 days, depending on the visa sought.