Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Saturday that the defenders of Azovstal, who were interned in Turkey, had been released and returned to the country.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Saturday that the defenders of Azovstal, who were interned in Turkey, had been released and returned to the country. This news infuriated the Russian authorities.
“We are returning home from Turkey and bringing our heroes back. Ukrainian soldiers: Denys Prokopenko, Sviatoslav Palamar, Serhiy Volynsky, Oleh Khomenko, Denys Shleha will finally be with their loved ones. Glory to Ukraine!” Zelensky said on social media.
The Chancellery of the President of Ukraine explained that the release of the Azovstal defense commanders interned in Turkey and their return to Ukraine was possible as a result of an agreement with the Turkish side.
According to Ukrainian media, the news of the return of the defenders of Azovstal to their homeland caused discontent in Moscow. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reacted to it, saying that it was a breach of the agreement.
“According to Peskov, the return of the commanders from Azovstal from Turkey to Ukraine is a violation of the terms of the existing arrangements, which were violated by both the Turkish side and Kyiv.” — Ukrainian Pravda reported.
In May 2022, the defenders of Mariupol, in the Donetsk region, after almost three months of fighting, including in the besieged bridgehead at the Azovstal metallurgical plant, ended up in Russian captivity. On 21 September, as part of a prisoner exchange with Russia, the Ukrainian authorities managed to free 215 military personnel, including the commanders of the defense of Mariupol and the Azovstal plant.
Five commanders from Azovstal - the commanders of the Azov Regiment Denys Prokopenko and Sviatoslav Pałamar, the commander of the 36th Marine Brigade Serhiy Volynsky and Denys Shleha and Oleh Khomenko - went to Turkey and were to stay there until the end of the war. This was part of the arrangements with Russia, in which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was to play an important role.