Moscow: The Russian Defense Ministry on Friday said that it has claimed full control of the territory of the Azovstal steel plant in the southern Ukrainian city of Mariupol.
A ministry spokesman said that Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had informed President Vladimir Putin of "the end of the operation and the complete liberation of the (Azovstal) industrial complex and the city of Mariupol."
According to the ministry, the last group of 531 Ukrainian fighters has now surrendered. Since May 16, a total of 2,439 Ukrainian soldiers have laid down their arms, Russia says.
Pro-Kremlin telegram channels also released a video with Sergei Volynsky, the commander of the 36th Marine Brigade unit, in which he said that his unit has surrendered.
The Azovstal plant was the last pocket of Ukrainian resistance in Mariupol, the port city besieged by Russian troops since the early days of the invasion of Ukraine.
"Since May 16, 2,439 Nazis from the Azov (regiment) and Ukrainian troops blocked in the factory have surrendered," defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.
Konashenkov said the leader of the Azov regiment at the site had surrendered and was evacuated from the factory "in a special armoured vehicle" to protect him from "the hatred of Mariupol residents (for him) and their desire to punish him".
The Azov Regiment is a former far-right battalion turned National Guard unit renowned for the mettle of its fighters.
"The underground installations of the factory, where the fighters were hiding, have come under complete control of Russian forces," Konashenkov added.