Ukraine needs its heroes alive, says President Zelenskyy. For a good 260 defenders from the Azovstal steelworks, this means a detour via Russian captivity. The events at a glance.
After weeks of blockade, around 260 Ukrainian soldiers have left the Azov steelworks in Mariupol. Among them were 53 seriously injured, according to the Ukrainian General Staff.
Almost at the same time as the evacuation, there was another Russian air raid on the city of Lviv in western Ukraine.
Prisoner exchange planned for evacuees from Azovstal
211 other Ukrainian soldiers from the Azovstal steelworks were also taken to a town occupied by Russian troops. They were later to be released in a prisoner exchange, it said. The evacuation of other fighters from the plant is still in progress. Several hundred soldiers are said to be on the site. Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maljar emphasized that it was not possible to free Azovstal. A planned exchange of prisoners has not yet been officially confirmed by the Russian side. The Russian Defense Ministry had previously only spoken of a ceasefire for the evacuation.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his video address that Ukraine needs its heroes alive. The International Red Cross and the United Nations were also involved in the evacuation of the soldiers.
Another rocket attack near Lviv
The area around the city of Lviv in western Ukraine was again the target of an air raid. The attack was aimed at a military facility in the Yavoriv district on the border with Poland, local military chief Maxim Kositsky wrote on Telegram. Mayor Andriy Sadowy emphasized that there was no information about rocket hits in the city and thanked the air defense. In mid-March, a Russian airstrike hit the military training area in Javoriv, killing 35 people according to Ukrainian sources. In Yavoriv, Ukrainian soldiers had trained with Western instructors in recent years.
19 civilians killed in Donetsk and Luhansk regions
According to the authorities, at least 19 civilians have been killed in the contested eastern Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. “As a result of the shelling of Sieverodonetsk, at least ten people were killed,” said the military governor of the Luhansk region, Serhiy Hayday, in the news service Telegram. Due to the attacks, however, it was extremely difficult to check the location. Nine more civilians were killed in neighboring Donetsk Oblast, according to local military governor Pavlo Kyrylenko. Six other people were injured.
Scholz does not see the end of the war anytime soon
Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) sees no signs that the war in Ukraine will end anytime soon. “Unfortunately, so far it has not been possible to see that the insight has grown that this should be ended here as soon as possible,” he said on the “RTL Direkt” program. You also have to “worry that there will be an escalation of the war”. Scholz stressed that Germany would continue to supply arms to Ukraine. He expects the promised Gepard anti-aircraft tanks to be made available “relatively quickly”. However, he pointed out that ammunition was still being sought abroad.
That will be important on Tuesday
The Finnish parliament continues to debate whether to join NATO. It is unclear whether a decision will be made. In addition, Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö is traveling to Sweden at the invitation of King Carl XVI. Gustaf on a two-day state visit to Stockholm. Against the background of the decisions of both countries to apply for NATO membership, the meeting will deal, among other things, with the common defense policy.
The EU defense ministers are meeting in Brussels and want to talk, among other things, about the war in Ukraine and the implementation of the Union’s security policy concept. In Ukraine, the fate of the remaining Ukrainian soldiers in the Azovstal steelworks will be the focus of attention after a good 260 fighters were able to leave the premises.