- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
On February 24, 2022 Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate the Donbass region where the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk had been living under regular attacks from Kiev's forces.

'And I Warned': Chechen Leader Kadyrov Shows Video With Him Personally Taking Azov POWs to Grozny

© Sputnik / Kirill KallinikovHead of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov at a military parade dedicated to the 77th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War in Grozny.
Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov at a military parade dedicated to the 77th anniversary of victory in the Great Patriotic War in Grozny. - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.05.2022
On Friday, the Russian army announced that the last fighters of the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion had left the Azovstal plant and surrendered after nearly two months of hiding in the plant's cellars. The surrender of almost 2,500 militants, who had previously threatened Russians and Chechens in particular, marked the complete liberation of Mariupol.
The head of the Russian region of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, took to his Telegram channel to post a meme-like video on Sunday that showed him personally transporting Azov militants.
The video features Kadyrov watching Azov militants' pleas for extraction and reacting unamused to newscasts in which they're asking for help. However, it later also shows Kadyrov driving a bus carrying captured militants to the capital of the republic, Grozny.

The footage, captioned "And I warned" with a laughing emoji, shows as he was telling them: "The next stop is Grozny."

Earlier, Kadyrov expressed his position on the possibility of the exchange of prisoners of war from the Azov battalion. According to the official, the military personnel can be exchanged, but "those ideological Bandera followers - they cannot be exchanged under any circumstances."
According to Kadyrov, they should "be punished in accordance with the law."
Speaking about his position on the fate of the militants, the Chechen leader wrote in an earlier post on Telegram that the militants of the nationalist battalion who surrendered should suffer "deserved punishment for all the atrocities committed against the civilian population."
Earlier, Russian media also reported that one of the nationalists of the Azov battalion voluntarily surrendered, but prior to that he managed to threaten Kadyrov on social media appeals with reprisals against him and pledges to abuse his family, including his daughters.

The Surrender Which Was Declared Victory

Up until the moment of their surrender, the leaders of the battalion and sympathizers called on Kiev authorities, the international community and individual states, including Turkey, Israel and the Vatican, to help extract the fighters of the Ukrainian National Guard's neo-Nazi unit. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, like other Kiev officials, has stated several times that they will not allow the encirclement and surrender of the battalion fighters.
A destroyed house near the Azovstal plant in Mariupol. - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.04.2022
Azovstal Worker: Russia's Special Op Was the Only Way to End Azov's Hellish Reign Over Mariupol
The leader of the battalion, Denis Prokopenko, stated earlier that the Ukrainian people should not glorify "deserters and traitors" who surrender. However, he reportedly surrendered to Russian troops this week and was hastily evacuated from the territory of Mariupol in order to avoid reprisals against him by local residents for the crimes committed by the battalion under his command.
At the end of April, Russian troops liberated most of the city, and the Ukrainian military and civilians with them were blocked at the Azovstal plant. Tanks, heavy artillery and aircraft were thrown against the militants, but resistance continued. In mid-April, however, over a 1,000 soldiers of the 36th Marine Brigade, which also took part in the battles for Mariupol, surrendered to Russian troops, having previously written a wide post on social media about how their own leadership wrote them off.
A serviceman of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, who surrendered in Mariupol, in the Novoazovsky Central District Hospital. Hospital doctors provided medical assistance to the prisoner. - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.04.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
'Written Off': Over 1,000 Ukrainian Marines Surrender in Mariupol, Chechen Leader Kadyrov Says
According to reports, there were about 600 wounded in the dungeons of the plant in unsanitary conditions at the time, without medicines, water and food, along with hundreds of civilians forbidden to leave the territory regardless of the humanitarian corridors opened by the Russian side.
The Russian Ministry of Defense stated on Friday that the territory of the Mariupol metallurgical plant "Azovstal" was completely liberated, as the underground facilities of the plant, in which the Ukrainian military and militants of the Azov battalion were hiding, came under the full control of the Russian forces.
In total, according to the military, over 3,000 militants from the Azov Regiment and the Ukrainian military, who were blocked on the territory of the plant for about a month, have laid down their arms and surrendered.
As members of the Azov battalion surrendered and let all the civilians free, Zelensky remarked in a video address that he hoped to save the lives of the Azov militants, and that "Ukraine needs Ukrainian heroes alive," and the work to return them "requires delicacy and time."
The Ukrainian media picked up the narrative of the statesmen, declaring the "conditional captivity" of the Ukrainian military. Russian authorities say they have no plans to trade neo-Nazis from Azov for anyone, as they must be prosecuted in due order.
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