Russia may overestimate the number of Ukrainian defenders evacuated from Azovstal – ISW

This is stated in the assessment. ISW Russian offensive as of 20 May.

It is noted that the Russians may inflate the figure in order to maximize the number of Russian prisoners of war who can be exchanged for Ukrainian soldiers.

Another option, according to ISW, is that Russia could inflate the number of Azovstal defenders to “avoid embarrassment” by admitting that it had been besieging “hundreds” rather than “thousands” of Ukrainian troops for several months.

The Russian propaganda agency RIA Novosti, citing the Russian Defense Ministry, wrote that allegedly 2,439 Ukrainian soldiers were taken out of Azovstal. At the same time, the International Committee of the Red Cross reported that it had registered “hundreds” of the evacuated fighters.

As reported, May 16 began rescue operation blocked on the territory of the plant “Azovstal” defenders of Ukraine from the garrison “Mariupol”. 53 seriously wounded servicemen were delivered to a medical facility in the occupied Novoazovsk. Another 211 defenders were evacuated through the humanitarian corridor to Olenevka in the CADO with their subsequent return to the territory controlled by Ukraine through the exchange procedure. On May 17, from the surrounded Azovstal plant, escorted by a Russian convoy to CADO 7 more buses left with the Ukrainian military.

May 18 at The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation announcedthat in two days a total of 959 Ukrainian soldiers left the encircled Azovstal, of which 80 were wounded.

May 19, Deputy Head of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Alexey Gromov reportedthat the evacuation of the Ukrainian military from Mariupol continues. At the same time, the command of the Mariupol garrison remains at Azovstal.

On May 20, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that at the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, blocked by Russian troops, “at the moment, 1,908 people have laid down their arms.” He also said that earlier 1,387 Ukrainian marines had laid down their arms in Mariupol. He was probably talking about a group of military men led by Vladimir Baranyuk, commander of the 36th Naval Infantry Brigade of the Naval Forces of Ukraine, and Dmitry Kormyankov, chief of staff of the brigade, who were captured by Russians on April 12 after trying to leave the Azovmash plant, which is northwest of Azovstal.

On May 20, the commander of the regiment of the National Guard “Azov” Denis Prokopenko reportedthat, as part of the evacuation of the Ukrainian military, the bodies of the dead defenders of Mariupol will be removed from the territory of the Azovstal plant.


At 4 am on February 24, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in the occupied Donbas. Russia launched missile strikes on the territory of Ukraine and launched a direct full-scale invasion in four directions. The armed forces of Ukraine are rebuffing the enemy, the blitzkrieg plan – to capture Kyiv in two or three days – failed, the Russian army retreated from the capital. The Russian military commits thousands of war crimes and crimes against humanity throughout Ukraine.

Center for Investigative Journalism maintains a daily chronicle Russia’s war against Ukraine on all platforms:

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