Ukrainian forces have announced that have completed their "combat mission" in the besieged city of Mariupol and asked the units located at Azovstal to save the lives of the personnel.
Mariupol, a key Azov Sea port city in eastern Ukraine, saw one of the worst bouts of violence since the start of the conflict in late February. The city of Mariupol has witnessed large-scale destruction and many civilians have already been evacuated.
"The garrison city of Mariupol has completed the assigned combat mission. The highest military command issued an order to the commanders of the units located at Azovstal to save the lives of the personnel," the Ukrainian military statement said.
General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, in a statement, said Commanders of units stationed at the city's massive Azovstal steelworks plant have been ordered "to save the lives of their personnel".
While holding positions at Azovstal, media reports said that the Ukraine soldiers prevented Russian troops from operating in other theaters. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Monday that Ukraine needs Ukrainian heroes alive.
"The 82nd day of our defence is coming to an end. A difficult day. But this day, like all others, is aimed precisely at saving our country and our people," Zelensky said.
He said the besieged city cannot fall to Russia because it is already completely destroyed. "There is nothing there to fall apart."
According to Russia Today, the first stage of "surrender" was completed on Monday. There are now 53 wounded servicemen in a hospital in Novoazovsk and 211 soldiers in Yelenovka, both of which are part of the Donetsk People's Republic, the report added.
This decision to combat the mission to end Kyiv comes after Russia and Ukraine have reached an agreement on the evacuation of wounded Ukrainian soldiers from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol.
The Russian Defense Ministry on Monday said that a ceasefire had been introduced in the surrounding area and a humanitarian corridor was opened to provide exit for wounded Ukrainian troops to be taken to a medical facility in Novoazovsk in Donetsk.
Last month, Ukrainian fighters in the city had vowed to "fight until the end," despite being surrounded, while being low on ammunition and outnumbered by Russian forces.
Russia launched a "special military operation" in Ukraine on February 24, which the West has termed an unwarranted war. Western countries collectively imposed a barrage of sanctions on Moscow and excluded the country from the global financial system. (ANI)