As of Tuesday, the bodies of 210 Ukrainian soldiers have been repatriated by Ukraine, according to Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense Main Intelligence Directorate, APA reports citing Reuters.
“The process of returning bodies of fallen defenders of Mariupol is ongoing,” due to the efforts of the POW Treatment Coordinating Staff, the statement said.
It said most of the bodies returned to Ukraine were those of the “heroic defenders of Azovstal," so Ukrainian soldiers at the massive Azovstal steel factory in Mariupol, the last bastion of Ukraine’s defense in that southern port city, before it fell to Russian and Russian-backed forces.
The Coordination Staff on behalf of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky is working to get the bodies of all the deceased returned, as well as some 2500 POWs believed held in the custody of Russian or Russian-backed forces.
“All fallen soldiers must return to the territory controlled by Ukraine. And each of them will be lead to the last journey with honors due to the heroes,” the statement said.
The statement adds that work continues to bring home “all captured Ukrainian defenders."
CNN’s Senior International Correspondent Ben Wedeman reported this week on workers at Kyiv’s central morgue examining the contents of scores of body bags containing the remains of those Ukrainian soldiers killed in the two-month siege of Mariupol.
Ukraine and Russia have conducted an exchange of bodies as part of the agreement that ended that siege.