EXPLAINED | Warfare in Ukraine: Who Are Mariupol Final Defenders?

An Azov Special Forces Regiment's serviceman, injured during fighting against Russian forces, poses for a photographer inside the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine, last week. (Image: AP file)

An Azov Special Forces Regiment’s serviceman, injured correct through combating towards Russian forces, poses for a photographer inner the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, Ukraine, final week. (Image: AP file)

As Ukraine works to evacuate the final combatants from the Mariupol steel plant — in what Russia calls a mass renounce — it describes them as heroes who have fulfilled their grueling project

The Ukrainian forces who made a definite final stand in a Mariupol steel mill towards Russian troops had been a aggregate of seasoned troopers, border guards, a controversial nationwide guard regiment and volunteers who took up hands within the weeks earlier than Russia’s invasion. As Ukraine works to evacuate the final combatants from the plant — in what Russia calls a mass renounce — it describes them as heroes who have fulfilled their grueling project.

Right here’s a detect at these Ukrainian forces, and what they’ve carried out:


The fighters that are serene holding out at Azovstal attain from a vary of various armed forces and law enforcement objects, in step with Ukrainian officers.

There is the Azov Regiment, which is segment of Ukraine’s National Guard; the 36th Special Marine Brigade of Ukraine’s Naval Forces; the 12th brigade of the National Guard; there are also the border guards, police officers, and territorial defense squads fashioned almost at this time earlier than the battle out of folks that knew the appropriate technique to fireplace a weapon.

These forces had been defending Mariupol from the commence of the Russian invasion. Marines from the 36th brigade had held the metropolis’s port and one other mountainous plant in Mariupol for additional than a month, till they ran out of affords and ammunition.

They moved to the Azovstal steel mill to affix the Azov Regiment, a nationwide guard unit with roots within the far perfect, and about a of them had been captured by the Russians.

The total selection of fighters hiding within the plant’s labyrinth of tunnels and bunkers unfold out across about 11 sq. kilometers (4 sq. miles) at the height of the siege used to be unclear, regardless that Russia claimed there had been extra than 2,000.


Russian officers and say media get self-discipline with the Azov Regiment. It derives from a crew known as the Azov Battalion, fashioned in 2014 as one amongst many volunteer brigades that rose to bolster Ukraine’s underfunded and questionably led armed forces within the combat towards Russia-backed separatists in Ukraine’s east.

That battle broke out after massive protests drove Ukraine’s Kremlin-leaning president from online page of work.

The Azov Battalion drew its initial fighters from far-perfect circles and elicited criticism for its tactics.

Azov fighters reject accusations of nationalism and radicalism. Sviatoslav Palamar, deputy commander of the regiment who’s at the moment at Azovstal, said in a fresh interview that he prefers the length of time “patriotism.”


Ukrainian officers persistently wired the position that the fighters at Azovstal have done in defending Mariupol.

“The Ukrainian troops in Mariupol have already done a feat, drawing the elite forces of the Russian navy onto themselves and tremendously slowing down the approach of the Russians within the southeast,” Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boychenko said.

“Due to this of the defenders of Mariupol, we now have won seriously main time to invent reserves, to regroup forces and to bag encourage from our partners,” Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar said Monday. “Mariupol’s defenders have fully carried out all missions assigned by the commanders.”

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in turn said that while the plant’s defenders are ending their combat, the journey is suitable and humane: “Ukraine needs Ukrainian heroes to be alive. It’s our idea.”

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