Ukraine is starting a new round of talks to try to rescue its soldiers at the besieged Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol. “We have started a new round of negotiations,” Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said, as reported by Ukrayinska Pravda, transmits MIA.
She said Kiev has given the mandate to hold talks with the Russian side to the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross, and that Turkey is currently acting as a mediator. “We would like to have a deal signed on how the evacuation from Azovstal will proceed – we are ready to sign,” Vereshchuk said.
The aim is an evacuation in several stages, with the first priority the rescue of 38 seriously wounded fighters, she said. If this works, “then we will make further moves.” Ukraine is prepared to exchange Russian prisoners of war for the wounded from Azovstal.
Russia has so far refused any evacuation of the last Ukrainian fighters in the sprawling steelworks in the port city of Mariupol, and has demanded the Ukrainians in the plant surrender.