After the surrender of 260 Azov soldiers, Russia has had to put up with criticism from its own people. On Telegram, citizens complained that Russian troops had captured Ukrainian soldiers without a fight.
The agreement to surrender some Ukrainian soldiers from the Azov Steel Plant has sparked outrage and confusion among pro-Russian supporters. On Russian Telegram channels, citizens sneered at the Russian Defense Ministry for negotiating with Ukraine’s “terrorists and Nazis”. They criticized the “Donetsk People’s Republic” for organizing the evacuation processes and creating the conditions for Ukrainian martyrdom. Telegram users also called for prison or death sentences for the captured Ukrainian soldiers.
As the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) estimates, some pro-Russian supporters are dissatisfied with the surrender decision. Supposedly they had hoped that the Russian troops would kill the encircled Ukrainian soldiers in the Azov Steelworks in battle and they would take Mariupol completely. The Kremlin had previously strongly propagated the supposedly successful Russian advance into the Azov valley. Moscow had not communicated conditions for possible Ukrainian capitulation negotiations. The news that a capitulation has now been negotiated abruptly upset many Russians.
According to the ISW, Russia had agreed to the surrender of the Azov soldiers in order to bring Mariupol completely under Russian control more quickly. The Directorate of the Ukrainian Military Intelligence Service said that the Department of Information and Mass Communications of the Russian Defense Ministry is hastily preparing a press tour for foreign journalists around the occupied territories of Ukraine. This should last from May 18th to 21st.
On the other hand, the Kremlin is said to have agreed to such a deal in order to declare a victory for itself. In the past, there had been increased criticism on social media of Russian troops’ failed attempts to cross the Severskyi-Donets River and the generally slow pace of the operation.
The evacuation of remaining Ukrainian soldiers at the Azov steel plant has resumed. Meanwhile, the Russian deputy head of government is visiting occupied Cherson and is investigating a connection to Russia. Meanwhile, Friedrich Merz counts on Olaf Scholz for strategies to delay arms deliveries. That happened tonight.
Atrocities in their own ranks? Captured Russian soldiers report on gruesome scenes at the front. Her own commander is said to have simply shot her comrades when they were injured. And this despite the fact that they were treatable.
A Ukrainian from the Chernihiv region was buried alive by Russian soldiers after they questioned, tortured and shot him and his brothers. Because the bullet didn’t kill him, he was able to hide under his brother’s corpse and later free himself from the grave.