About 265 Ukrainian soldiers had surrendered after staging a last stand at the besieged Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol.
The surrender led Ukrainian government to call for a prisoner exchange.
On April 21, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu reported that all of Mariupol was ‘liberated’ and that ‘remaining nationalists are hiding in the industrial area’.
Hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers remained holed up in tunnels beneath the huge Azovstal industrial zone.
“Over the past 24 hours, 265 militants laid down their arms and surrendered, including 51 heavily wounded,” the Russian Defence Ministry said.
Publishing images and videos showing wounded soldiers being carried on stretchers, it said the injured were hospitalized in the eastern Donetsk region controlled by pro-Kremlin rebels.
Ukraine’s Defence Ministry confirmed the soldiers were no longer in Azovstal, expressing hope for an “exchange procedure… to repatriate these Ukrainian heroes as quickly as possible”.