Enlarge this imageUkrainian servicemen from the Azovstal steel plant sit on a bus near a penal colony, in Olyonivka, in territory under the government of the Donetsk People’s Republic, on Friday.APhide captiontoggle captionAPUkrainian servicemen from the Azovstal steel plant sit on a bus near a penal colony, in Olyonivka, in territory under the government of the Edmundo Sosa Jersey Donetsk People’s Republic, on Friday.APRu sia is consolidating its control of the strategic Ukrainian city of Mariupol, after months of bombardment that Ukrainian officials say killed tens of thousands of civilians.The battle for Mariupol has centered on the Azovstal steel plant in recent weeks. An estimated 2,000 Ukrainian fighters and several hundred civilians had been sheltering in the ma sive complex’s underground maze of tunnels and bunkers, trapped inside for months with a dwindling supply of food, water and medical supplies. Ukraine invasion explained Mariupol has fallen to Ru sia. Here’s what that means for Ukraine Ukrainian officials announced earlier this month that all women, children and elderly people had been evacuated from the steel plant, as Ru sian attacks intensified. But the fighters defending the plant vowed never to surrender, even as their loved ones and international onlookers pleaded for their safe evacuation.That changed on Monday, when Ukraine formally ended its combat mi Dakota Hudson Jersey sion in Mariupol. Hundreds of soldiers were evacuated to Ru sian-held territory in the eastern part of the country, with help from the United Nations and other organizations. Ru sia’s defense ministry said Thursday that some 1,730 Ukrainian soldiers had surrendered at the besieged steel plant, though Ukrainian officials have not confirmed that number or shared any information about the plant in recent days.Ukraine invasion explained How a ma sive steel plant became the center of Ukraine’s resistance in Mariupol The International Committee of the Red Cro s says it’s registered hundreds of Azovstal defenders, including the wounded, as prisoners of war this week. That involves obtaining certain personal information in order to “track those who have been captured and help them keep in touch with their families.”The fate of the evacuated soldiers remains uncertain. Ukrainian officials said earlier this week that they would bring them home as part of a prisoner exchange, but have since gone silent.Meanwhile, some Ru sian politicians are calling for them to be put on trial and even face po sible execution, even though the Geneva Conventions state that combatants can’t be put on trial just for participating in battle.Ukraine invasion explained Wives of Ukrainian soldiers in Mariupol’s steel plant plead for an evacuation Plus, there could be more Ukrainian soldiers still barricaded beneath the plant, as one of its defenders indicated in a cryptic video on Thursday night.Sviatoslav Palamar, the deputy head of the Azov Regiment, released an 18-second video in which he said that he and other Willie McGee Jersey Ukrainian soldiers were still inside the plant a claim that, while unverified, suggests the story isn’t over.”There is some operation underway,” he said, according to an NPR translation. “I won’t go into John Gant Jersey details of that.” Ukraine invasion explained Hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers evacuated from steel plant to Ru sian-held territoryWinning Mariupol is a rare but major victory for Ru sia, and not just because of its symbolic value. Mariupol secures a link between Crimea and the Ru sian border and gives Ru sia control over the entire north shore of the Sea of Azov. Ru sian media reports suggest the Kremlin is taking steps to secure its hold over southeastern Ukraine, though it’s not yet clear what that might look like.It’s already installed proxies to serve as local politicians, a sign that it aims to stay put for the long-haul even as Ukrainian forces have pushed Ru sia back in other parts of the country.Joanna Kaki sis reported from Kyiv, Ukraine.