KYIV/MARIUPOL, Ukraine, May 16 (Reuters) – Troops holed up in the last Ukrainian stronghold in the besieged port of Mariupol began evacuating on Monday, appearing to cede control of the once prosperous city to Russia after months of bombardment.
Ukraine’s deputy defence minister said 53 injured troops from the Azovstal steelworks were taken to a hospital in the Russian-controlled town of Novoazovsk, some 32 kilometres (20 miles) to the east.
Another 211 people were taken to the town of Olenivka, in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatists, Deputy Defence Minister Anna Malyar said. All of the evacuees will be subject to a potential prisoner exchange with Russia, she added.
Ukraine has confirmed that hundreds of its fighters trapped for more than two months in Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks have been evacuated.
Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar said 53 badly wounded soldiers were taken to the town of Novoazovsk, held by Russian-backed rebels.
She said another 211 were evacuated using a humanitarian corridor to Olenivka – also a rebel-held town.
Russia earlier said a deal had been reached to evacuate the injured troops.
About a dozen buses carrying Ukrainian fighters who were holed up beneath the besieged plant were seen leaving the huge industrial site in the southern port city on Monday evening, Reuters news agency reported.
3. Newsweek: Russia Opens Fire On Israeli Jets Over Syria—Report
Russian forces may have opened fire at Israel’s jets in Syria, according to a report.
The alleged attack is believed to have taken place in Syria on Friday last week, according to Israel’s Channel 13 news.
Newsweek has not been able to independently verify whether the attack did take place and whether it was the act of Russian forces.
The unsourced report alleges that Russia used its S-300 anti-aircraft missiles as the Israeli jets attacked targets in Northwestern Syria.
We will add reports as they come in and meet some kind of impossible to define standard for what is worthy of reporting on this conflict. Please do check the comments under this post as the day progresses though.