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Wives of remaining Azov soldiers describe conditions

STORY: One of the wives of a remaining Azov regiment fighter, Kateryna, said that she was afraid of how Russia would treat her husband once handed over to Russian troops.

"We hope for extraction. This is what we’re fighting for. I don’t see another way out for them."

Yulia, who is married to an Azov soldier she says is still in Mariupol's steel plant bunkers, explained that some Azov members "weren’t evacuated. They were forgotten once again."

All three wives that Reuters talked to said they still had hope that their husbands would make it out of the bunkers under the the Azovstal steel plant.

Underlining the different perceptions of the Mariupol fighters in Russia and Ukraine, one Russian lawmaker called on Tuesday for the evacuated combatants to receive the death penalty

The Russian Ministry of Defence said on Tuesday that 265 Ukrainian servicemen who had been holed up in Azovstal steel plant in the southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol had surrendered and that 51 of them were severely wounded - figures that Reuters could not independently verify.

Ukraine's military said on Tuesday (May 17) it was working to evacuate all remaining troops from their last stronghold in the besieged port, ceding control of the city to Russia after months of bombardment.

Russia has portrayed the Azov Regiment, formed in 2014, as a band of Russia-hating neo-Nazis.

Kyiv says the Azov militia has been folded into Ukraine's National Guard - a military wing of the interior ministry - and that it has been reformed away from its radical nationalist origins and has nothing to do with politics.

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