Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said this at a meeting with journalists, according to an Ukrinform correspondent.
"As for the prisoners, there are more than 2,500 of them. It's difficult to say more precisely. This is not the number of people who left Azovstal when we, our side, were involved in this process... Your question was if there are more [than 2,000-2,500] military from Azovstal held in their captivity. I think there are more [than 2,000-2,500]," he said.
Zelensky recalled that the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine is dealing with the issue of releasing Ukrainian soldiers, adding that he is not ready to talk about the details.
According to him, the Russians do not torture Ukrainian defenders from Azovstal, because it is not advantageous for them to do so, as "our fighters have already become public figures."
The Ukrainian military had been defending Mariupol for more than 80 days. The evacuation of Ukrainian defenders from the Azovstal steel plant, blocked by Russian invaders, began on May 16 and lasted for several days.