On May 16, the commander of the Azov regiment entrenched in the Azovstal plant, Denís Prokópenko, announced the surrender of the troops under his command in the face of the Russian siege. However, the headlines of international mainstream media outlets presented the news not as a surrender, but as an “evacuation.”
For example, the following headlines appeared in Spanish-language outlets:
• “Ukraine evacuates 264 soldiers from the Azovstal steel mill” (RTVE, Spain’s publicly owned media)
• “Ukraine abandons the fight in the Mariupol steelworks and evacuates 250 soldiers” (Spain’s El País)
• “Ukraine evacuates 264 soldiers from the Azovstal steel mill” (Spain’s El Mundo)
• “The agreement between Ukraine and Russia to evacuate soldiers from Azovstal anticipates the end of the battle of Mariúpol” (Spain’s El Diario)
• “Ukraine evacuates 260 soldiers from Azovstal, symbol of resistance against Russia” (Spain’s Expansión)
These headlines that dominated the Spanish media landscape space in the last 24 hours echoed the spin provided by US outlets, which refused to acknowledge the surrender:
• “Ukraine strikes deal to evacuate around 50 wounded fighters from Mariupol Azovstal factory (US outlet Fox News)
• “The battle for Mariupol nears end as Ukraine declares ‘combat mission’ over” (US outlet CNN)
These outlets continue to promote the narrative that the Ukrainian authorities have “concluded” the resistance of their troops at the Azovstal plant, in the city of Mariupol, and have reached an agreement with Russia to “evacuate” their soldiers.
Two points cast doubt on such a view of the facts:
First, when leaving the Azovstal plant unarmed to be “evacuated,” Ukrainian soldiers were met, searched, and interrogated by the Russian military. The injured were treated by Russian medical personnel, and the most seriously injured were sent to nearby hospitals under the control of the Donetsk People’s Republic, respecting the principles of humanitarian treatment of war prisoners that Russia has observed since Soviet times.
Secondly, the soldiers were “evacuated” not to Ukrainian territory or to neutral territory, but to the areas controlled by Russia and its allies of the Donetsk People’s Republic, more specifically to the penitentiary prison No. 97, in the city of Makeyevka.
Russian sources report that this procedure can in no way be called an “evacuation,” because it is a total and unconditional surrender of the Ukrainian troops who were holed up in Azovstal. Soldiers who have not been linked to war crimes could be exchanged for Russian prisoners in the future. The criminals, members of Nazi groups, and their sympathizers, will be prosecuted by Justice.
Internet users have not missed the opportunity to mock mainstream media’s attempted play on words:
Ucrania evacua mediante el ejercito ruso a los soldados ucranianos hasta los centros de detencion de la RPD, negacion de la realidad pic.twitter.com/gjjtFr88UV
— Ambakaroo Hispano🇨🇺🇾🇪🇵🇸🇸🇾🇱🇾🇮🇶 (@ambakaroo) May 18, 2022
“Ukraine evacuates, with the Russian army, Ukrainian soldiers to detention centers in PRD, denying reality,” wrote @ambakaroo on Twitter.
Ucrania "evacua" a sus "héroes" a territorio ruso. 🤣🤣🤣🤣
Se rindieron, honestamente creí que tardarían más en rendirse, pero no pudieron resistir más los nazis
— LazyMexican (@Wilkerson_TERR) May 17, 2022
“Ukraine ‘evacuates’ its heroes to Russian territory,” wrote @Wilkersin_TERR on the social media platform. “Honestly, I thought it would take longer for them to surrender, but the Nazis couldn’t stand it.”
🤣🤣Ucrania evacua, que caras de tabla
— Argenis Pirela (@argenispirela) May 17, 2022
“‘Ukraine evacuates,’ what impudence,” wrote @argenispirela, commenting on El Mundo’s headline.
JAJAJAJAJAJA "Ucrania evacúa" más descarados ni pueden ser maquillando y tergiversando los hechos de lo que fue una rendición 🤡🤡🤡💵💵💵
— GatoAndino (@gato_andino) May 17, 2022
“LOL, ‘Ukraine evacuates,’ they could not be more brazen, making up and misrepresenting the facts of what was a surrender,” wrote @gato_andino.
— Nahia Sanzo (@nsanzo) May 17, 2022
“Ukraine evacuates, the Z is to throw us off,” wrote @nsanzo sa ironically.
Ucrania evacúa ucranianos a Russia !!🤣🤣🤣
— JOSE ESPARZA (@pepillo818) May 17, 2022
“Ukraine evacuates Ukrainians to Russia! LOL,” wrote @pepillo818, commenting on El Mundo’s headline.
Increíble: "Ucrania Evacua". No hayan que nombre ponerle a esa derrota.
— Jesús Emilio Silva Montoya 🇻🇪 (@iunemiliomas1) May 17, 2022
“Incredible: ‘Ukraine evacuates.’ They don’t know how to call this defeat,” wrote @iunemiliomas1, and attached tweets from nine mainstream media outlets referring to an “evacuation.”
Cada día mola más cómo nos informan sobre Ucrania.
El héroe planetario Zelenski, en misión especial ha evacuado a soldados de Azovstal…
Y los evacúa hacia territorio controlado por Rusia‼️
O al actor se le ha estropeado la brújula o los naz*s de Azov se han rendido. Elige 😜 pic.twitter.com/Q4z07J4cSc
— Carmelo Comestodo Fashamierda🔻🟥🟨🟪 (@CComesto) May 18, 2022
“Everyday is more disgusting, how they inform us about Ukraine,” wrote @CComesto. “Planetary hero Zelensky, in a special mission, has evacuated soldiers from Azovstal. He evacuates them to Russian-controlled territory! Either the actor has lost his bearings, or the Azov Nazis have surrendered.”
Ucrania evacúa a sus "héroes" y los entrega a Rusia.
Mentiras es lo que venden los grandes medios occidentales.
Y así han colonizado la mente de sus fieles "lectores".
— Luz Marina López (@koskita) May 18, 2022
“Ukraine evacuates its heroes and delivers them to Russia,” wrote @koskita on Twitter. “Lies is what western mainstream media sells. That is how they have colonized the minds of their faithful readers. Traitorous press!”
¿Ucrania evacúa? ¿Hacia la República Popular de Donetsk? Ya ok. Periodismo independiente occidental se llama, se les quema la lengua decir que ya 260 miembros del batallón azov se han rendido.
— PEDRO GRILLO ROJAS (@PEDROGRILLOROJA) May 17, 2022
“Ukraine evacuates? To the PRD? Yeah right. They call it western free press…” wrote @pedrogrilloroja.
Featured image: Azovstal Ukrainian troops being searched by Russian soldiers after their surrender. Photo: Radar.gr.
(Mundo Sputnik) with Orinoco Tribune content
Translation: Orinoco Tribune