The military command issued an order to the commanders of the units located at Azovstal to save the lives of the personnel, according to the official statement of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
The defenders of Mariupol are the heroes of our time. They are forever in history. This is a separate special forces unit “Azov”, the 12th brigade of the National Guard of Ukraine, the 36th separate brigade of the marines, border guards, policemen, volunteers, the defense of Mariupol.
Holding positions at Azovstal, they did not allow the enemy to transfer a grouping of 17 battalion tactical groups [about 20,000 personnel] to other directions. Thus, they prevented the implementation of the plan for the rapid capture of Zaporizhzhia, the access to the administrative border of the Donetsk and Zaporizhzhia regions and the creation of conditions for encircling the Ukrainian military.
The concentration of the main enemy forces around Mariupol allowed us to prepare and create defensive lines where our troops are today and give a worthy response to the aggressor. We received critically needed time to form reserves, regroup forces, and receive assistance from partners.
The most important common task of all Ukraine and the whole world is to save the lives of the defenders of Mariupol. We will fight for you on all fronts as devotedly as you defended the state!” the statement said.