Ukraine orders Azovstal fighters to surrender

Units have “completed the assigned combat mission”, Kiev claims

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has confirmed in its social networks, on Tuesday evening, that its servicemen holed up at the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol have been ordered to surrender. 

“The garrison “Mariupol” has completed the assigned combat mission. The highest military command issued an order to the commanders of the units located at Azovstal to save the lives of the personnel,” the Ukrainian military statement explained. According to Kiev, while holding positions at Azovstal, its soldiers prevented Russian troops from operating in other theaters.

The two countries have been embroiled in a full-blown conflict since February, when Moscow attacked its neighbor, following an eight year standoff over the fate of the Donbass. 

Kiev insisted that the Azov Neo-Nazis and members of its regular forces had “prevented the implementation of the [alleged Russian] plan for the quick capture of [nearby] Zaporozhye, and did not allow access to the administrative border of the Donetsk and Zaporozhye regions.”

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky said that work on their return will require “delicacy and time”.

“Thanks to the actions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, intelligence, as well as the negotiating group, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN, we have hope that we will be able to save the lives of our guys. I want to emphasize that Ukraine needs Ukrainian heroes alive. This is our principle. I think that every adequate person will understand these words. To bring our military back home, the work continues, and this work requires delicacy and time,” he stated.

A large portion of them are members of the Neo-Nazi ‘Azov regiment.’ The military uniforms of the group feature Nazi insignia and its members have been photographed with tattoos of symbols such as the swastika. Its first commander Andrey Biletsky has said he believes it’s Ukraine’s mission to “lead the white races of the world in a final crusade… against Semite-led Untermenschen [inferior humans]”.

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Colonel Vladimir Baranyuk, commander of Ukraine's 36th Naval Infantry brigade © RT
Ukraine lied to its encircled troops – commander

The first stage of surrender was completed on Monday. 264 soldiers left Azovstal. There are now 53 wounded servicemen in a hospital in Novoazovsk and 211 soldiers in Yelenovka, both of which are part of the Donetsk People’s Republic. 

Russian sources have estimated that about 2,200 people have been trapped in the basements of the huge Azovstal complex. The site is eleven square kilometres long and its subterranean sections are designed to withstand a nuclear attack. 

According to the Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Anna Malyar and the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, those who surrender will be exchanged for Russian prisoners of war, taken captive by Kiev. However, the terms of the exchange have not yet been decided.

Moscow has not yet made any public statements about an exchange. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian side has tried to avoid the use of the expression “surrender”.

After the last Ukrainian soldier leaves Azovstal, the battle for Mariupol will be effectively over and Russia will have gained total control of the strategically vital city.

US Republicans accused of ‘enabling’ racism by ex-chair

Liz Cheney and ally Rep.Adam Kinzinger condemned current GOP leaders, provoking outrage

The aftermath of Saturday’s mass shooting in Buffalo, New York has widened the gulf between supporters and detractors of former US President Donald Trump and his brand of populism within the Republican party, with ousted chairwoman Liz Cheney launching a new volley on Monday. She accused the current leadership of “enabling” racist ideologies. 

“The House GOP leadership has enabled white nationalism, white supremacy, and anti-semitism,” she tweeted, adding that the GOP leadership must “renounce and reject these views and those who hold them” because “history has taught us that what begins with words ends in far worse.” 

“Great Replacement Theory” was trending on Twitter on Monday as users across the political spectrum debated whether conservative voices like Tucker Carlson and the Daily Wire could be blamed for encouraging or inciting the gunman, 18-year old Payton Gendron, to violence. A 180-page manifesto he purportedly authored has come under intense media scrutiny in the aftermath of the massacre. The document outlines the so-called “Great Replacement Theory” of white demographic displacement, which is central to alt-right discourse. 

“Here is my replacement theory,” Representative Adam Kinzinger from Illinois opined, saying his fellow Republicans should “replace” current chairwoman, Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, and others because “the replacement theory they are pushing/tolerating is getting people killed.” Kinzinger and Cheney are the sole Republicans on the January 6 Committee.

READ MORE: Supermarket massacre probed as hate crime

Stefanik’s office decried the “sickening and false reporting” in a statement released on Monday. Senior advisor Alex deGrasse called attempts to blame Stefanik for the Buffalo shooting “a new disgusting low for the Left, their Never Trump allies and the sycophantic stenographers in the media.” He claimed Stefanik had “never advocated for any racist position or made a racist statement.”

The mass shooting occurred early on Saturday afternoon in Buffalo, New York. A white gunman, 18-year-old Payton Gendron, entered a local supermarket with a rifle while wearing military-style gear. He killed 10 people, most of whom were black. He is charged with murder and could face life in prison without parole if convicted under New York State laws. Federal agencies are assisting in the investigation, which is being probed as a potential hate crime and domestic terrorist incident. 

Hundreds of houses damaged in Ukraine-bordering region

Russian villages have been shelled frequently from Ukrainian side amid ongoing Moscow’s offensive on its neighbor

Almost 300 houses have been damaged in Russia’s Belgorod Region, which shares a border with Ukraine, over the last two and half months, the region’s governor Vyacheslav Gladkov revealed on Monday.

Since the beginning of Moscow’s military offensive on Ukraine on February 24, numerous settlements in Russia’s southwestern regions of Belgorod, Bryansk and Kursk have been struck from the Ukrainian side.

“Over the entire period of the special operation, 281 houses in the Belgorod region were damaged, we have already repaired 126,” the governor said during a Q&A session on social media.

Gladkov also revealed that in two villages – Zhuravlevka and Nekhoteevka – the reconstruction works have not started for a reason.

Why? Because, unfortunately, the shelling continues,” the governor explained.

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© Telegram / @rybar
Fatal shelling from Ukraine shakes Russian village

Last week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that some additional measures would be necessary to strengthen security in Russia’s regions bordering Ukraine because of repeated shelling by Kiev’s forces. His remarks followed the news that a Ukrainian artillery strike on Solokhi, a village in Belgorod Region located about 11 kilometers from the Ukrainian border, had left seven Russian civilians injured and one dead.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.