Home Somerset county 3,000 evacuees from Mariupol are believed to be held in a penal colony by the Russian army

3,000 evacuees from Mariupol are believed to be held in a penal colony by the Russian army

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Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman said the Russian military is detaining more than 3,000 civilians from Mariupol in a former penal colony in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.

Seven buses carrying an unknown number of Ukrainian soldiers evacuated from the Mariupol steelworks were seen arriving at the former penal colony No. 120 near Olenivka on Tuesday.

Ombudsman Lyudmyla Denisova said earlier on Telegram that the civilians were being held in the former penal colony No. 52, also near Olenivka.

She said most civilians are detained for a month, but those considered “particularly unreliable”, including former soldiers and police, are detained for two months.

Ukraine has decided to abandon a sprawling steel factory where its soldiers had withstood relentless shelling for months (AP)

Ms Denisova said among the detainees are around 30 volunteers who delivered humanitarian supplies to Mariupol as it was besieged by Russia.

It comes as the fall of Mariupol appears imminent, with Ukraine preparing to abandon a sprawling steelworks where its soldiers had held out under relentless bombardment for months, making it the biggest city to fall to the Russians. .

Much of the steelworks was reduced to rubble.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine was working to get its remaining troops safely out of the Azovstal steelworks.

In his nightly video address to the nation, Mr Zelensky said the evacuation mission was overseen by Ukrainian military and intelligence officers and that “the most influential international mediators are involved”.

However, hundreds of Ukrainian fighters left the Azovstal steelworks and surrendered into Russian hands.

Elsewhere, Ukrainian guerrillas reportedly killed several high-ranking Russian officers in the southern town of Melitopol, the regional administration said on Telegram.

Russian forces have occupied the city since the beginning of the war.

FILE - Smoke rises from the Azovstal Metallurgical Combine in Mariupol during a shelling, in Mariupol, in the territory under the government of the Donetsk People's Republic, eastern Ukraine, May 7, 2022
Much of the steel plant has been reduced to rubble (Alexei Alexandrov/AP)

According to the regional administration, the occupiers are trying to cover up the situation but Russian troops were more actively checking private cars in the city on Tuesday, most likely looking for the guerrillas.

No details of the killings were given and the report could not immediately be confirmed.

Throughout the war, the Ukrainians claimed to have killed many generals and other Russian officers. A few of the deaths have been confirmed by the Russians.