Fighters appeal for evacuation of wounded from Mariupol plant | world news
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Fighters from the Azov Regiment, the Ukrainian unit holed up in the besieged Azovstal steelworks in the devastated port city of Mariupol, have released photos of their wounded comrades-in-arms who they say are in the factory, as well as with an appeal to the United Nations and the Red Cross to organize their evacuation.
In a statement accompanying the photos posted on a Telegram channel titled “Azov – Mariupol” on Tuesday, they said the wounded, who they said were no longer fighters, were living in unsanitary conditions “with open wounds bandaged with remnants of unsterile bandages, without the necessary medications and even without food.
The statement said that “the whole civilized world must see the conditions in which the wounded and crippled defenders of Mariupol find themselves and act”.
“We demand the immediate evacuation of the wounded servicemen to the territories controlled by Ukraine, where they will be assisted and treated,” the statement concluded, noting that there were several hundred wounded fighters in the factory.
The series of 10 photos show seriously injured fighters, including two standing on crutches who had their left legs amputated, one with their left arm amputated at the shoulder and another with their right arm amputated above the elbow, the bandaged stump. Two others are shown being treated by medics, and another has an external fixation device, which is screwed into broken limbs to stabilize them, on his right arm.
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It has not been possible to independently verify where the photos were taken or the identity of the people depicted.
The seaside steelworks is the only part of the strategic port city that has not been taken over by Russian forces. With a maze of tunnels and bunkers stretching deep beneath the factory, hundreds of civilians had taken refuge there from the intense bombardment of their city. Ukrainian and Russian officials said the last women, children and elderly people had been evacuated from the plant earlier this week, but confusion continued over whether all civilians had been evacuated after two Ukrainian officials said on Tuesday what was left.
The Azov Regiment has a controversial past. It derives from a group called the Azov Battalion, which formed in 2014 as one of several volunteer brigades in the fight against Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. He drew his early fighters from far-right circles and drew criticism for his tactics. Later in 2014, it split into two groups, one being integrated into the National Guard as the Azov Regiment, and the other becoming a far-right political movement.
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