Russia returns bodies of 210 Ukrainian fighters who died defending Mariupol

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Russia Returns Bodies Of 210 Ukrainian Fighters Who Died Defending Mariupol Russia Returns Bodies Of 210 Ukrainian Fighters Who Died Defending Mariupol
Paramedics treat a Ukrainian injured serviceman in the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, © AP/Press Association Images
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By Associated Press Reporters

Ukraine’s military intelligence agency says Russia has so far turned over the bodies of 210 Ukrainian fighters killed in the battle for Mariupol.

It says most of them were from the last holdouts in the city’s Azovstal steelworks.

The agency did not specify on Tuesday how many more bodies are believed to remain in the rubble of the fortress-like plant where their last-ditch stand became a symbol of resistance against Moscow’s invasion.

Russia now controls the destroyed port city.

The Ukrainian fighters defended the steelworks for nearly three months before surrendering in May under relentless Russian attacks (Bernat Armangue/AP)

It began turning over bodies last week. Ukraine said on Saturday that the two sides had exchanged 320 bodies, with each getting back 160. It is unclear whether any more bodies have been given to Russia.

The Ukrainian fighters defended the steelworks for nearly three months before surrendering in May under relentless Russian attacks from the ground, sea and air.

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Meanwhile, Russian forces continued to fight for control of Sievierodonetsk, an eastern Ukrainian city that is key to Moscow’s goal of completing the capture of the industrial Donbas region.

An unexploded Russian rocket lays on a field near Soledar, eastern Ukraine (Bernat Armangue/AP)

In his nightly video address on Tuesday night, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russian forces have made no significant advances in the eastern Donbas region over the past day and that “the absolutely heroic defence of the Donbas continues”.

Mr Zelenskiy added that the Russians clearly did not expect to meet so much resistance and are now trying to bring in additional troops and equipment. He said the same is true in the southern Kherson region, which Russian troops occupied early in the war.

Mr Zelenskiy also stated that Ukraine plans to release a special “book of executioners” next week with confirmed information about war crimes committed by the Russian army. He said those named will include not only those who carried out war crimes, but also their commanders.

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