Azov Fighters Describe Conditions at Russian Detention Camp After Surrender

Ukrainian soldiers have spoken about the conditions they are experiencing in a Russian detention camp after surrendering at the besieged Azovstal plant earlier this week.

Russian troops first stormed the Azovstal iron and steelworks plant in the city of Mariupol on April 19 and destroyed large areas.

The Azov Battalion, a unit of the National Guard of Ukraine based in Mariupol, remained at the plant to mount a resistance.

Azov soldiers surrender in Mariupol
The departure of militants from Azov, in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 18. Ministry of Defense of Russia/Zenger

However, after weeks of being besieged by the Russian forces, the unit began to suffer from severe shortages and didn't have basic necessities such as bandages to treat their many wounded.

As a result, around 1,000 Ukrainian fighters surrendered at the Azovstal plant this week.

The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) said in a statement May 18: "In Mariupol, militants of Azov nationalist unit and Ukrainian servicemen holed up in the Azovstal plant continue to surrender.

"Over the past 24 hours, 694 militants have laid down their arms and surrendered, including 29 wounded.

"A total of 959 militants have surrendered since May 16, including 80 wounded, 51 needed urgent hospital treatment and were admitted to Novoazovsk Hospital in the Donetsk People's Republic."

Wounded Azov soldiers in Russia hospital
Wounded Ukrainian servicemen from Azovstal are seen in Novoazovsk Hospital in the Donetsk People's Republic after surrendering earlier this week. Ministry of Defense of Russia/Zenger

Ukrainian fighter Pryashchenko Stanislav gave an account of the treatment he has been receiving at the hands of his Russian captors.

In the footage, he is heard saying: "Today they took us to the dining room. We had soup in the morning. There was also soup and porridge at lunch.

"We have not had dinner yet, we are still waiting. So we have beds, mattresses. Everything is as it should be. Blankets, pillows, everything is there, bed linen.

"Here are the beds, we have mattresses, blankets. We have enough beds for everyone."

Stanislav added: "We have wounded guys here. We are waiting for the doctor now, they promised to come right now, to change the dressing."

Junior Sergeant Slivak Sergey Evgenievich, 30, with the 57 National Guard, said: "Treatment is better than I expect, I have a blanket, mattress. Food is adequate, there is enough to eat. As for everything else, conditions here are good."

Ukrainian prisoners of war in detention
Ukrainian prisoners of war are seen in detention in Yelenovka, Russia, after surrendering at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol earlier this week. Ministry of Defense of Russia/Zenger

Surgeon Yuri Zayduk, lieutenant of the Medical Service, said: "I really didn't know what to expect. In general what I wanted, what turned out, was better than I expected.

"Everything is fine, I have no complaints, everyone is respectful, adequate. Nobody uses insults here, nobody offends us, for sure.

"They helped my colleagues, I was assured that everything was fine. Most of the seriously wounded soldiers were taken out, at least during that first time with me.

"It was fine, they did the dressings. I hope such treatment will continue there."

Following the fall of Mariupol, the Russian authorities plan to tear down the Azovstal metallurgical plant and turn the city into a "resort," according to the Institute for the Study of War.

The Kremlin also says that the Ukrainian fighters from the Azovstal plant have been taken to a former prison colony in a Russian-controlled part of Donetsk.

Russia's defense ministry said 771 Ukrainian fighters from the steelworks had surrendered up until May 19, taking the total to 1,730, and 80 of the fighters were wounded.

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.