Daily Report from the Ukraine Field for 2022-05-23
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Military correspondent kp.ru Dmitry Steshin - about how they sat, surrendered and what will happen next with prisoners from Azovstal
Why did the surrender begin only on May 16?
There were many reasons.
Most importantly, the defenders at Azovstal completely lost the opportunity to conduct combat operations. I saw with my own eyes how it was implemented in reality. At the command post of the Vostok battalion, there was a huge plasma screen, which displayed images from drones. Our drones flew in the air continuously - one came in for a landing to charge the batteries and read information from the flash card, the other immediately took off. Behind the screen sat an experienced observer who often saw what others did not notice. The observer reports: "At the building 53, the movement of an enemy group of five people." The mortar battery gets a second and the coordinates, another 20 seconds, and it opens fire. I can’t say exactly how many drones simultaneously controlled the territory of the plant - dozens. I heard that endless buzzing well...
And besides pinpoint destruction of identified targets, Azovstal was constantly processed by our cannon artillery, MLRS ("Grady"), heavy flamethrower systems (TOS "Cheburashka"), aviation and navy. In fact, the movement of the “Azovites” around the plant was possible only during periods of negotiations and a ceasefire for the release of civilians and workers from the last factory shift.
At the time of the exit of the first groups that surrendered on May 16, according to the “Azov” people, they had already run out of food for nine days.
Another important reason for surrender is psychological breakdown. As one of the founders of "Azov" with the call sign "Aspid" told the KP special correspondent, they believed that they would be released with the help of some political agreements or during a military operation. At Azovstal they liked to draw maps with red arrows - how they would strike from the factory towards the deblocking group. Kiev fed them „breakfasts", promises, and even regularly transferred higher salaries with bonuses "for siege and courage." "Aspid" even showed a bank account on his phone - for 80 days of "Azovstal sitting" he received 190 thousand hryvnia (380 thousand rubles - corr. note). But, in reality, deblockade was impossible. It was not even possible to drop the necessary medicines from aircraft onto Azovstal. Approximately 600 wounded agonized in the dungeons of the plant, nullifying the already low military spirit. At the same time, the Russian negotiating group has already established confidential contacts with a part of the military elite of the defenders for a month now. They were promised to count the voluntary surrender and explained, verbatim, that “Kiev only needs the dead heroes of Azovstal.” The factory knew about it. Relations between Azov and Kiev politicians have always been on the verge of hostility. All of these components worked.
How many surrendered?
As of May 22, 2,439 neo-Nazis from Azov, soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Coastal Defense, border guards and SBU officers surrendered at Azovstal. The composition of those released is still classified in the interests of our special services and investigators. Neither Western mercenaries nor foreign officers-advisers have yet been shown to us. Their fate is still classified. Another option, they could get rid of them, as unnecessary witnesses capable of compromising the Kiev regime and the West as a whole.
Among those who surrendered were 78 women, most of them are doctors, nurses, employees of the financial departments of military units. Although, it is reliably known that sniper Ekaterina Polishchuk, who joined Azov at the age of 13, was at Azovstal. It has not yet been presented to the public, but according to experts, there should not be many snipers, and female snipers are extremely rare in general.
According to Alexander Khodakovsky, some can wait until the purge is over and only a few dozen policemen and reservists at checkpoints will remain at Azovstal. We are waiting for the results of the sweep, while sappers are working at Azostal.
What will happen to the prisoners?
First, the composition of those who surrendered is heterogeneous. Most fall under the provisions of the Geneva Convention for the Protection of Prisoners of War and will be recognized as combatants. Their fate will be determined in the near future, perhaps they will be exchanged. Of course, if these people are not involved in military crimes. How many "Azov" among the prisoners is still unknown. As Alexander Khodakovsky, the commander of the DPR Vostok battalion, noted, there was not a single person among the prisoners who could be immediately identified as an “Azovian”. Before being taken prisoner, everyone tore off their stripes and defiantly smashed phones, tablets and laptops. Investigators have a lot of work to do. Most likely, the most odious characters will be judged by a tribunal in the DPR (it is being formed now), and in the people's republics of Donbass, let me remind you, the death penalty has not been abolished. It is very likely that many will have a long work and restoration of destroyed roads and facilities: like the Germans after the Great Patriotic War.
At the moment, the prisoners were distributed as follows. The wounded ended up in the Novoazovsk hospital (the closest regional center of the DPR to Mariupol), the most severe, who simply could not be taken to Donetsk. In Donetsk itself, places were allocated for the wounded in several hospitals. The rest of the prisoners were sent to the zone in the village of Yelenovka near Donetsk. The most curious thing is that Yelenovka has been under constant shelling from the Ukrainian side since the very beginning of the war. Perhaps the presence of hundreds of “twin brothers” there will somehow moderate the ardor of Ukrainian artillerymen? Or vice versa? And the most "interesting" prisoners, as they say, are already in special institutions in Taganrog and Rostov, and testify there.
A win turned into a disaster
The fall of Mariupol is a very heavy blow for the Kiev authorities. The 20,000th group, equipped, motivated and trained, having a threefold numerical superiority, was liquidated and partially taken prisoner. Moreover, the conditions for the attackers were the most difficult - urban and industrial development. Another major failure occurred in the foreign policy circuit. The West did not take any real steps to rescue the Mariupol garrison and the “Azovstal inmates”. And Russia simply did not pay attention to threats, political and economic pressure. Appeals to the Pope and the Eurovision jury showed that these structures do not have any real influence on political processes, which was already clear to sane people.
In my opinion, for the first time in the history of Azovstal, the peacekeeping missions of the UN, the OSCE and the Red Cross worked positively - they helped to free the "human shield" from the local residents and showed the combatants that their surrender is controlled by international law and universal moral standards. There is no point in fighting to the last. It is difficult to imagine how much, thanks to this understanding, it was possible to save the lives of our fighters.
And the whole world was shown who the Russian military and the DPR militia were fighting against - this was clearly demonstrated on the bodies of prisoners with the help of swastikas, cannibalistic sayings and quotes from Hitler.
In Ukraine, they have not yet fully realized what happened. There, the propaganda machine has already gone wild, trying to prove to all Ukrainians that it was not a surrender, but an “evacuation” or “special operation to withdraw our soldiers from the encirclement.” All these illusions will end in the coming days, when the prisoners from Azovstal start talking. They will have something to tell Ukraine and the world.
Heh, it’s almost as if Team Zelenskyy read the tea leaves inside the New York Times editorial opinion recently [SEE HERE] that warned Joe Biden he better get to a negotiated peace deal quickly or the administration will look even worse than it already does.
Two days after the New York Times editorial board says, “it is still not in America’s best interest to plunge into an all-out war with Russia, even if a negotiated peace may require Ukraine to make some hard decisions; and the U.S. aims and strategy in this war have become harder to discern, as the parameters of the mission appear to have changed,” now Zelenskyy is saying he needs to enter diplomatic talks with Russia.
(BBC News) – The war in Ukraine can only be resolved through “diplomacy”, President Volodymyr Zelensky has said. Speaking on national TV, he suggested his country could be victorious against Russia on the battlefield. However, he added that the war could only come to a conclusive halt “at the negotiating table”.
Meanwhile, heavy fighting is taking place in and around Severodonetsk, as Russian forces step up efforts to seize the whole of the Luhansk region……
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