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Azov’s Last Stand

Driving out the Ukrainian nationalists from the Azovstal plant

For almost two months, fierce fighting raged around the Azovstal plant after Russian troops and DPR militia forced the Ukrainian military to leave Mariupol and retreat to the plant. Two and a half thousand fighters were cornered in workshops and impregnable bunkers. They retaliated by bombarding the city and its residents with an array of weapons.

'The Azov people did not think we would drive them out of the residential areas and force them to run for their lives, to hide in Azovstal literally. If they hadn’t taken refuge in Azovstal and made arrangements to be able to sit there for a long time, we would have wiped them out as we chased them out of the residential areas. We would have thrown them into the sea or somewhere else. We would’ve crushed them,' says Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Khodakovsky, head of the Vostok battalion. The battalion has been involved in all operations to clear Donbass of neo-Nazis. They and the Russian Army flushed the neo-Nazis out of Azovstal.

Though the Azov fighters were very well stocked with food and water, they had problems with medicine. Many of the wounded who came out of Azovstal were extremely tired. Many of them had gangrene. It was another reason that forced their surrender. They left 11 square kilometres stuffed with explosives, booby traps, mines, and unexploded shells.

How did the operation happen? What do the captured Azov fighters say about what they did? Follow the film crew to retrace the liberation of Azovstal step by step.