On Monday, Russia's Defense Ministry announced an agreement to evacuate wounded Ukrainian fighters who have been holed up for weeks at the Azovstal steel mill in Mariupol city.
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"On May 16, as a result of negotiations with representatives of Ukrainian servicemen blocked at the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in Mariupol, an agreement was reached to evacuate the wounded," the Defense Ministry said.
A ceasefire has been implemented in the area and a humanitarian corridor has been opened so that the wounded soldiers are "transferred to a medical center in Novoazovsk in the Donetsk People's Republic, where they will be given all the assistance necessary".
Last week, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereschuk said that between 500 and 600 soldiers were wounded in the steelworks, but that the parties were currently negotiating the evacuation of those in worse conditions.
"Right now we are negotiating the release of 38 seriously wounded. We are going step by step," she said, adding that Ukraine proposed to Russia to exchange the wounded from Azovstal for Russian prisoners captured by Ukrainian forces.
On Sunday night, the Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyconfirmed that the "complex and delicate" talks on the evacuation of the military from the steel mill were continuing on a daily basis. "The important thing is that the agreements are respected," he said.
According to the commander of the Vostok battalion of the self-proclaimed Donetsk republic, Alexander Khodakovski, nine Ukrainian soldiers left the besieged metallurgical factory today to demand negotiations.