Ukrainian fighters from the Azov regiment who surrendered after fighting in Mariupol in Ukraine will face trial and face the death penalty, an official in the pro-Russian separatist territory of Donetsk said on Monday.
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“All the prisoners of war are on the territory of the DNR”, declared on Russian television Yuri Sirovatko, Minister of Justice of this self-proclaimed republic located in the east of the country.
“In concrete terms, we have 2,300 prisoners of war from (the steelworks) Azovstal”, he specified, before adding that the regiment “Azov is considered a terrorist organization” and that all “will be subject to of criminal investigations" with a view to a trial.
"Such crimes are punishable in our country by capital punishment, the death penalty," concluded the minister.
The last Ukrainian defenders of Mariupol, entrenched in the huge Azovstal steelworks, surrendered to Russian forces between May 16 and 20, after three months of intense fighting.
The Russian authorities present the fighters of Azov, a regiment founded by Ukrainian nationalists, as "neo-Nazis" and intend to treat them as war criminals and not prisoners of war.
On Saturday, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to release them.