Zelensky and his entourage are desperate to curtail the effect of the Nazi Al Qaeda Azov Battalion’s surrender, as they fear the image of “last stand heroes” they were trying to build in an attempt to boost the morale of Ukrainian troops may very well backfire and cause a cascading effect of mass surrender, which would result in a complete collapse of Ukrainian forces all across the frontlines from Kharkov to Nikolayev. Writes Drago Bosnic
Over 770 members of Ukraine’s “Azov Battalion” Neo-Nazi group have surrendered at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol in the past 24 hours, pushing the total number to 1,730 Ukrainian forces who have laid down their arms, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov stated on Thursday morning.
“In the past 24 hours, 771 militants of the Azov nationalist battalion holed up in the Azovstal steelworks surrendered. Overall, 1,730 militants, including 80 wounded servicemen, have surrendered since May 16,” the spokesman said.
The servicemen of the controversial, to say the least, Ukrainian group who required immediate care are currently receiving medical assistance at hospitals and other health institutions in Novoazovsk and Donetsk, the Russian general said.
The Defense Ministry of Russia announced on May 17 that members of the Ukrainian Neo-Nazi group, as well as an unspecified number of regular Ukrainian forces sealed off at the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol, had begun surrendering to Russian and DNR forces since at least the previous day. The battles in and around Mariupol lasted over a month and a half and ended in the victory of the Russian and DPR forces. On April 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on the complete liberation of Mariupol.
Russia’s president then handed down an order calling off the initially planned storming of the Azovstal plant, as he considered it pointless and ordered that the industrial zone around the plant be tightly sealed off so that “even a fly couldn’t get through.” By that time, over 2,000 Ukrainian forces, or approximately a third of the Mariupol’s initial garrison were holed up in the steel plant, according to the information provided by the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Since the start of the joint DNR-Russian offensive to secure strategically important areas in and around Mariupol, which is of prime importance for connecting the Donetsk People’s Republic and Russia with the Kherson oblast (region) and the Crimean Peninsula to the west and southwest, respectively, the Kiev regime has been desperately trying to portray its forces in the area as some sort of “heroic last stand die-hards”.
During his online sessions with parliaments across EU and NATO member states and other partner countries of the political West, president Zelensky boasted about the “heroism” of the forces trapped in the Azovstal steel plant, with his scriptwriters having the task to research any historical last stands of the host countries, resulting in comparisons to the 300 Greek Spartans at Thermopylae, Jewish Masada and the Alamo, among others.
The comparisons were quite controversial, especially in the cases of Greece and Israel, since the people of both countries suffered tremendously under Nazi German occupation during the Second World War. Greek population during that period was subjected to brutal suppression and mass murder, while Jews were nearly annihilated in the infamous Holocaust, bearing the brunt of the wartime casualties, along with Europe’s Slavic (mostly Russian, Polish, Serbian, etc) and Roma population.
The “Azov Battalion” group’s direct connection to various Neo-Nazi elements within the Ukrainian society is a direct insult to the memory of the victims subjected to Nazi brutality, even when not taking into account the horrifying testimonies of civilians from Mariupol and other villages, towns and cities in the former Donetsk oblast (region), who were also subjected to nearly a decade of oppression at the hands of the Neo-Nazi group, which culminated in literal mass murder during the recent fighting in the area.
For nearly two months, the Western mainstream media, citing Ukrainian sources, has been trying to create the “heroic” image of the Kiev regime forces who were hiding in the Azovstal steel plant. The members of the Neo-Nazi group were also making regular video calls, pleading and even demanding to be extracted, which was also creating problems for their media-imposed image of “martyrs” who would “rather die than surrender”.
As the image of “last stand heroes” was being built by the mainstream media, forces trapped in the steel plant became increasingly disillusioned, realizing they would be left to die, as they were infinitely more useful as dead “heroes” to the Kiev regime. As soon as the Neo-Nazi group and other forces decided to surrender to Russian and DNR forces, the Kiev regime and its Western sponsors realized what sort of a PR disaster this could turn into, especially when coupled with recent major tactical defeats of Ukrainian forces in Donbass.
Apart from US pleas the Kiev regime desperately tried to portray the defeat as a “victory” by spinning the narrative and resorting to semantics. Thus, the surrender became a “successful evacuation”, while president Zelensky himself went as far as to claim that Ukrainian services “successfully evacuated” the Azovstal forces, without giving any additional information as to which services, since the Kiev regime authorities previously running Mariupol fled the city nearly two months ago.
However, president Zelensky and his entourage are desperate to curtail the effect of the surrender, as they fear the image of “last stand heroes” they were trying to build in an attempt to boost the morale of Ukrainian troops may very well backfire and cause a cascading effect of mass surrender, which would result in a complete collapse of Ukrainian forces all across the frontlines from Kharkov to Nikolayev.
Drago Bosnic, independent geopolitical and military analyst.