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Parliament speaker meets with Azovstal defenders in Turkey

by The Kyiv Independent news desk June 4, 2023 12:11 PM 1 min read
Ukraine's parliament chairman Ruslan Stefanchuk (2L) meets with Ukrainian soldiers who participated in the defense of Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, including the top commanders of the Azov Battalion, in Turkey. The photo was released on June 4, 2023. (Verkhovna Rada/Telegram)
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Chairman of the Ukrainian parliament Ruslan Stefanchuk went to Turkey and met with Azovstal defenders who have been freed from Russian capture and are now under the protection of the Turkish government, the press service of Verkhovna Rada reported on June 4.

Azovstal steel plant was Ukraine's last stronghold in Mariupol, Donetsk Oblast, before the city became entirely occupied by Russia in May.

As part of Ukraine's prisoner exchange with Russia that freed 215 prisoners of war in September, it was decided that five top commanding officers of the Azovstal defense would live in Turkey until the end of the war.  

They include Azov Regiment commander Denys Propopenko, his deputy Sviatoslav Palamar, marine commander Serhiy Volynskiy, and members of the National Guard, Oleh Homenko, and Denys Shleh.    

"All our defenders are determined to continue the fight and long to return home," Stefanchuk said.

Stefanchuk, who called these men heroes, said the government is working on freeing other Ukrainian warfighters who have been captured by Russia.

"We have to return everyone. Because we value everyone."

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