Donetsk separatist leader Denis Pushilin said on Wednesday that a court would decide the fate of Ukrainian fighters who have surrendered at the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, Russia’s Tass news agency reported. “If the opponent has laid down his arms, the court decides the future fate,” says Pushilin, adding that all Ukrainians who are declared “neo-Nazi war criminals” must face an international court.

Separatist leader Pushilin has also reported that the steelmaker’s top brass are still inside the plant and have not yet given up, Reuters reports. The DAN news agency quoted Pushilin as saying that among the hundreds of fighters who had surrendered there was no top-level commander. “They haven’t left (the plant),” he said.

Russia stated on Wednesday that another 694 Ukrainian soldiers “surrendered” during the past day at the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, bringing to 959 the number of troops who have surrendered “prisoners” since Monday. L

“In Mariupol, militants of the nationalist Azov unit and Ukrainian soldiers blocked at the Azovstal plant continued to surrender,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said in his morning war report. “During the last day, 694 militants were captured, including 29 wounded,” he added.

This number adds to the 265 Ukrainian soldiers evacuated Monday from the steelworks, including 51 seriously injured, according to Russia. Thus, “a total of 959 militants have been taken prisoner since May 16, including 80 wounded,” Konashenkov said.

He explained that a total of 51 defenders “need hospital treatment” and have been admitted to the hospital in Novoazovsk, a town controlled by Russia in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.

The Ministry of Defense published a video about this second operation or “surrender” as Moscow calls it, which does not specify if there are still other defenders in Azovstal or if it intends to exchange them for Russian prisoners as kyiv has proposed.

The images show how the soldiers who left the metallurgical plant, including some women, leave the Azovstal territory with their mats and suitcases in a row and stand in a single line to be searched by Russian soldiers. Some rely on crutches and even sticks to walk, others are blindfolded and others are taken on a stretcher to an ambulance.

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