• Ukrainian forces said they "fulfilled their combat mission" in Mariupol on Tuesday.
  • They have begun to evacuate to "save the lives of their personnel."
  • 53 soldiers were transported to a hospital and another 211 were evacuated via humanitarian corridor.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said Tuesday that a garrison stationed in Mariupol has "fulfilled its combat mission" and began to evacuate.

This likely signals the end of a mission to defend the Azovstal steel plant, which served as a stronghold for Ukrainian troops in the besieged city of Mariupol.

"The Supreme Military Command ordered the commanders of the units stationed at Azovstal to save the lives of their personnel," according to a statement.

According to defense officials, 53 wounded troops were transported to a hospital in Novoazovsk, while another 211 were evacuated through a humanitarian corridor to Olenivka. They may be subject to a prisoner exchange between Russian troops, the statement said.

Ukrainian forces had recently begun evacuations of civilians at the Azovstal steel plant, where hundreds of Ukrainian civilians and troops bunkered down for months

"Defenders of Mariupol are the heroes of our time," the statement said. "They are forever in history."

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