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Hard to overstate that the liberation of 215 UAAzovstal defenders from russian captivity is a tremendous boost to the Ukrainian morale and public spirit. Seeing these national heroes alive - albeit tormented and exhausted - nurtures hope that others will be freed soon.

The Kharkiv-Uzhhorod train has been painted, each carriage with a different theme, this one devoted to the battle for Azovstal. Pretty striking.

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Ukraine has announced the release of 215 of its soldiers, including fighters who led the defense of Mariupol's Azovstal steelworks, in exchange for 55 Russian prisoners.

Ukraine released 55 Russian prisoners, as well as Victor Medvedchuck, leader of the banned pro-Russia political party. In return, Russia released 215 Ukrainian soldiers and 10 foreigners, including fighters from the Azovstal steel plant.

"We're back to fight on!" said Ptashka, famous for songs in Azovstal, who recently returned from Russian captivity "Licking wounds & to the frontline. Every defender of Mariupol will return home. Every piece of Ukrainian land will be regained," she said

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Almost everyone who stayed in Mariupol to defend it ended up at the steelworks, a city within a city enduring a harrowing siege within a siege. @liz_cookman  reports on the last stand at Azovstal for 1843 magazine

SITREP DAY 211 1. Geraschenko, ex head of MoscowAviationInstitute, dies "falling" down stairs 2. NorthKorea denies delivering ammo to RU 3. TR to leave Mir payment system? 4. Prisoner xchange: RU gets Medvechuk inter alia; UA 270 POWs notably fm Azovstal 5 DE takes RU deserters

She comes back!!! 21-y.o. Kathryna Polishchuk (Ptashka), paramedic from #Azovstal  liberated from russian captivity.

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#AMAY | “I am the happiest woman in the world,” says wife of Azovstal fighter who was freed in prisoner swap

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#Russia releases 215 #Ukrainians , including fighters who led defence of Mariupol's Azovstal steelworks

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The Ukrainian defenders of Mariupol after knocking out the latest Russian attempt to assault last remaining UA fortress Azovstal 🎥Nik Mark

Putin is hailing Russia's "liberation" of Mariupol after his forces completely destroyed during a two-month siege. He told defense minister Sergei Shoigu to block off the Azovstal metallurgical plant, where the last Ukrainian troops are holed up, "so that a fly can't get in."

The Marine commander at Azovstal appealed to Erdogan "I am appealing to Turkish people,to President to apply extraction procedure,to do all to take Mariupol garrison to TR ,to practically take us away with sec.guarantees from TR side. We are much counting on your help" @HaberturkTV 

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It's Ukraine's version of the Alamo. For 80 days, Russians met unyielding Ukrainian resistance in an apocalyptic siege at a steel factory. The battle for Azovstal has already become legend. This is the story of the fighters and civilians who were there.

UA defender Serhiy Volyna writes from Azovstal: "It is as if I found myself in some hellish reality show where we, military,are fighting for life, using every chance,&the world is watching an interesting story. This is real:pain, suffering, hunger, torment, tears, fear, death" 1/2

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"I and Azov commanders are on the territory of Azovstal. Certain operation is underway, I will not disclose the details. Thank you world & thank you Ukraine for your support. See you," deputy commander of Azov Sviatoslav Palamar said in a short address

Happening now: Svyatoslav Palamar, second in command of the Azov Regiment in Mariupol, and Illia Samoilenko, an Azov Regiment lieutenant, are speaking to journalists from inside the Azovstal plant via Zoom. They paint a dire picture of the situation there.

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"If world civilization still has common spiritual values, if ppl can still feel pain of others, if a plea 4 help can call 2 action, then I call to fight 4 Mariupol garrison! Marines R always faithful!" Serhiy Volyna calls on world to launch extraction for UA defenders at Azovstal

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Situation in Mariupol Azovstal growing more dire. Marine commander Serhiy Volyna says ~600 wounded troops in serious condition, w/o meds, in unsanitary conditions; 100s of civilians including many kids, people with disabilities underground. They’re running out of food and water.

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