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Over 1,000 Ukrainian Soldiers Surrender in Mariupol: Russia

Russian soldiers patrol at the Mariupol drama theater, bombed last March 16, on April 12 in Mariupol, as Russian troops intensify a campaign to take the strategic port city Alexander Nemenov / AFP

Russia's Defense Ministry said Wednesday more than a thousand Ukrainian soldiers have surrendered in Mariupol, a strategic port city in eastern Ukraine that has been besieged by Moscow's troops for over a month.

"In the city of Mariupol... 1,026 Ukrainian servicemen of the 36th marine brigade voluntarily laid down their arms and surrendered," the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said that the soldiers surrendered near the "Mariupol Metallurgical Plant named after Illich," a large steel factory.

Among the troops were 162 officers and 47 were women, the ministry added. More than 100 were wounded.

Russia is believed to be trying to connect occupied Crimea and Moscow-backed separatist territories Donetsk and Lugansk in Donbas and has laid siege to Mariupol at the start of its military operation.

Thousands of civilians are believed to have died in the city, which has seen some of the most intense fighting in the conflict.

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