After the last Azov troops surrendered in what became Ukraine’s last bastion of hope in Mariupol, the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works, Russia has declared ‘victory’ and the “complete liberation” of the besieged city and has introduced a new permit system for civilians.
The ‘victory’ signals the official end of the almost three-month siege of the city and the steelworks, where Ukrainian troops, peace and order officers, and civilians holed-up to fight Russia.
This gives Moscow the land corridor in the south from Russia to Russian-occupied Crimea.
As fears grow that the Azov troops may be subject to torture by Russian authorities as they are held in Russian-controlled territory.
The regiment, which was set up as a volunteer militia in 2014 but is now a National Guard unit, once had links to the far right.
International groups, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Amnesty International has registered the Azovstal fighters as prisoners of war and according to Amnesty International in a tweet, “must not be subjected to any form of torture or ill-treatment.”
The Azov regiment was set up as a volunteer militia group that helped Ukraine in the war of 2014 and is now integrated into Ukraine’s National Guard Unit.
Meanwhile, the Russians have introduced a permit system in Mariupol, according to Petro Andryushchenko, adviser to the mayor of Mariupol,
Andryushchenko reported via Telegram, that an individual must secure a car and passenger pass to enter Mariupol with a permit that will last for three days but may only be used once.
The permit will be secured from a Russian commandantʼs office that will issue the permits in Manhush and Vynohradne at the filtering points.
The queue for a pass is already full for the next several weeks.
For individuals leaving Mariupol, citizens will also need permits that will grant travel by car with passengers.
Permits are issued in the “so-called regional departments of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Donetsk Peopleʼs Republic,” according to Andryushchenko.
“For those who are going to visit Mariupol–remember. For now, itʼs a one-way street,” Andryushchenko added. (GFB)