Major Mykyta Nadtochiy, Acting Commander of the Azov Regiment, said this in an interview to RFE/RL correspondent on YouTube, Ukrinform reports.
As noted, the enemy troops, which entered Mariupol, from the very beginning exceeded the number of all Ukrainian defenders in the city fourfold or even fivefold.
"There was less than a platoon of Ukrainian soldiers and more than a company of Russian troops. From the beginning, the enemy outnumbered us almost fourfold or even fivefold. When they began to press from all sides, we simply had no choice but to retreat. And the specifics of the city of Mariupol is that if you stand on the outskirts of the city and all go back, then in principle, everyone will end up at Azovstal," Nadtochiy said.
According to him, all the fighters bravely defended the city and destroyed both the enemy manpower and military equipment.
But then the defenders ran short of provisions, food, and, most importantly, ammunition.
"And the commander was faced with a choice – either all fighters must die without a fight because they had nothing to fight back, or to make a very risky compromise and agree with the other party on some guarantees in the presence of third parties, and wait until they are exchanged for prisoners of the Russian Federation," said acting commander. He added that when the Ukrainian service members had been going out, they handed over weapons to their commanders, not to servicemen of the Russian Federation.
The Azov Regiment, together with other units of the Mariupol Garrison, fulfilled its task in full and continued to fight to the end. If I were on the side of the enemy, I would have a lot of respect for these guys," Nadtochiy stressed.
He added that at the time of the defense of Mariupol he was the commander of the second battalion of Azov separate special purpose detachment. He was one of the first servicemen evacuated from Azovstal by helicopter due to a heavy injury.
On February 24, 2022, the Russian Federation launched the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, thus continuing the armed aggression that has been going on since 2014.
The Ukrainian troops, including the Azov Regiment members, were defending Mariupol for more than 80 days. On May 16, the evacuation of Ukrainian defenders from the Azovstal plant, blocked by Russian invaders, began and lasted for several days.
After the Ukrainian military withdrew from Azovstal, they are awaiting a swap, according to the agreements.
The Center for Strategic Communications informed that Russia plans a so-called trial of Azov fighters as the last chord of the "denazification" of Ukraine.
Currently, the Chief Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine deals with the release of the Ukrainian service members.
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