Azov Battalion commander Denys Prokopenko said in a video address on Friday,  his military unit was given an order to halt Mariupol defense to save lives of the personnel.

As Ukrainian Azov Battalion holdouts have ditched the military operation with their focus now shifted to saving lives of soldiers and removing the bodies of their brothers-in-arms.

‘Despite heavy fighting, all-round defense and absence of supplies, we constantly emphasized three key conditions: civilians, the wounded, and the killed,’ said Prokopenko explaining the move.

Ukrainian defenders of Mariupol managed to evacuate the civilians from Azovstal site while the badly wounded servicemen are being attended.  The next step is exchange of the wounded soldiers and their transportation to Ukraine-controlled territory.

The work is underway to help take back the bodies of the fallen Ukrainian heroes so that Ukraine could bury them with honors in ‘near future’.