Russia begins show trial of 22 Azov soldiers who defended Mariupol, including eight women
On Wednesday, June 14, Russia held a farcical trial in Rostov-on-Don for 22 Azov soldiers who defended Mariupol and Azovstal. Among the prisoners are eight women and 14 men, including the former company commander
Russia will trial 22 Ukrainian prisoners of war who were captured during the full-scale war in Ukraine. The enemy took the defendants in 2022 in Mariupol, Donetsk region, after a three-month battle that destroyed most of the city.
The soldiers belonged to the Azov military regiment and were stationed at the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in the last days of the defence.
Of the 24 accused, two were returned home during exchanges. A total of 22 prisoners of war remained in court, including eight female cooks.
Espreso's sources in the Armed Forces of Ukraine also identified Oleh Tyshkula (Hatti), former commander of the 3rd Operational Company of the 2nd Battalion of the Azov Special Forces, as one of the defendants.
Russia has labeled the Azov military regiment as terrorists. They can be imprisoned for 15 years or lifelong if the court finds them guilty.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the Presidential Office, said that the photos of the trial in Rostov evoke nothing but disgust.
"Glossy prosecutors and dressed-up jurors with brilliant smiles are "judging" boys and girls who look like skeletons after a concentration camp and torture. Such abuse of combatants is an official war crime that should be properly assessed by the ICC," Podoliak wrote and added a rhetorical question: "Does anyone see any representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the hall?"
What is known about the capture of Azovstal soldiers
On March 2, 2022, Mariupol was surrounded when Russian troops approached it from the south and began advancing along the Azov coast. On May 20, 2022, Russia captured the city after a long and difficult defense of the city.
On May 16, 2022, military personnel were evacuated from Azovstal in Mariupol to the temporarily occupied Novoazovsk and Olenivka.
On July 29, Russians shelled the prison in Olenivka, where Ukrainian prisoners were being held, with artillery. On August 2, American experts confirmed that Russians had blown up Ukrainian prisoners of war in Olenivka.
On August 6, the Mariupol City Council reported that Russian occupants were assembling prison cages on the stage of the Mariupol Chamber Philharmonic.
On August 11, Vadym Boychenko, the mayor of Mariupol, said that the Russian occupiers were likely to hold a show trial of the defenders of Mariupol on Independence Day of Ukraine.
On August 19, 2022, it became known that on Ukraine's Independence Day in Mariupol, the Russian Federation planned to hold a show trial of captured members of the Azov and accuse Ukrainians of it.
On may 16, 2022, families of Azovstal defenders call for return of more than 1,900 soldiers from captivity, including more than 700 Azov regiment soldiers
On Sunday, 11 June, 95 Ukrainian soldiers brought home from captivity, Azovstal defenders among them