Russia tries 24 Ukrainian soldiers from Azov regiment in Rostov-on-Don
On Wednesday, 27 September, a new trial of 24 defenders of Mariupol from the Azov regiment began in Rostov-on-Don. Russia want to imprison them for life
This was written by Petro Andriushchenko, an adviser to the mayor of Mariupol.
"Right now in Rostov-on-Don, a new trial of our Heroes of Mariupol from the Azov regiment has begun. 24 Heroes will be sentenced to life imprisonment by the Russians just for defending their (our) country," Andriushchenko wrote.
It is noted that they are charged with Article 278 ("Forcible seizure of power") and Article 205.5 ("Participation in a terrorist organisation") of the Criminal Code of Russia.
"Once again. Citizens of Ukraine are charged by the occupying country with seizing power in Ukraine. If there was any greater cynicism before, this is the final bottom. This is a direct and frank response of Putin's cowardly regime to the start of hearings at the Hague International Criminal Court, where today the children abducted from Mariupol and returned were questioned," Andriushchenko added.
It should be noted that Russia started the "trial" of Ukrainian prisoners held at Azovstal on 15 June. At that time, two of the 24 accused were returned home as part of the exchanges. A total of 22 prisoners of war remained in court, including eight female cooks.
What we know about the returned Azovstal commanders:
On September 21, 2022, a total of 215 Ukrainian defenders were released from Russian captivity. Among them were Denys Prokopenko, Svyatoslav Palamar, Serhiy Volynskyi, Oleh Khomenko, and Denys Shleha.
The operation to free the prisoners had three parts: exchanging Ukrainians for Viktor Medvedchuk, who is close to Vladimir Putin, getting assistance from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to release 5 commanders, and freeing 10 foreign fighters who supported Ukraine.
On September 24, the spokesperson for the Turkish president, Ibrahim Kalin, said that Erdogan and Zelenskyy agreed to exchange 15 Azovstal commanders, but only 5 were released.
Molfar, the deputy commander of the Azov regiment, stated that all the Ukrainian soldiers who were released had been tortured by the Russians during their captivity. They were in a tough condition, both mentally and physically, and needed help.
In September, Andriy Yermak, the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, had a conversation with the released Azovstal commanders who were in Turkey at the time. They received medical examinations, and their condition was thoroughly assessed.
On July 8, 2023, Ukraine brought back the commanders from Azovstal who were in Turkey after being captured by the Russians.