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Hundreds more Ukrainian troops surrender as Red Cross registers Mariupol POWs

In this photo taken from video released by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on May 18, 2022, Ukrainian servicemen leave the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)
In this photo taken from video released by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on May 18, 2022, Ukrainian servicemen leave the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

KYIV, Ukraine — Hundreds more fighters have emerged from the Mariupol stronghold where they made their last stand and surrendered, Russia says, and the Red Cross is working to register them as prisoners of war, as the end of a key battle in the conflict draws closer.

A monthslong siege of Mariupol that left it in ruins and the drama of last-ditch fighters at a steel plant holding off Russian forces turned the strategic port city into a worldwide symbol of suffering and defiance. With Ukraine saying their mission is complete, the fighters have been told to save their lives — and international attention is focused on how they will be treated.

The Russian military says that a total of 1,730 Ukrainian troops at the Azovstal steelworks have surrendered since Monday. At least some were taken by the Russians to a former penal colony in territory controlled by Moscow-backed separatists, and a separatist official said that those who needed medical assistance were hospitalized.

The International Committee of the Red Cross says that it has registered hundreds of prisoners of war from the plant, starting Tuesday, under an agreement between Russia and Ukraine. The Geneva-based humanitarian agency, whose mission is to ensure the respect of international humanitarian law during conflict, says the registration process included getting basic personal details from the soldiers.

While Ukraine says it hopes to get the soldiers back in a prisoner swap, Russia has threatened to investigate some for war crimes.

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