Dubious Claims

Last week there were various media reports(including our own) on Russian claims that  1,000 members of Ukraine’s 36th Marine Brigade had surrendered to the Russians. Some numbers went as high as 4,000.  It now appears the Russian claims were propaganda based on a relatively small number of troops (around 150) captured during the fighting.

A torn Ukrainian flag hangs on a wire in front of an apartment building destroyed in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine. April 14, 2022. Photo Credit: Reuters/Alexander Ermochenko

No proof of mass surrender exists. Indeed, if it happened, you would have seen hundreds of Ukrainian troops paraded around on Russian state TV. That was never the case.

The truth is that, as I write this, brave fighters in Mariupol are fending off the Russians and keeping control of their city despite all odds. An officer of the 36th Marine Brigade managed to get the following statement out to the world regarding what happened to his men:

“I can’t give you all the details, but I can say that right now we have joined the “Azov” Regiment. Several hundred marines managed to escape, including the wounded.” 

This was reiterated by a report from Олексій Арестович (an advisor to President Zelensky):

“1. Azov received a significant reinforcement.

 2. The 36th brigade avoided a split in pieces and received additional serious opportunities, actually found a second chance.
 3. The city’s defenders, now together, have seriously strengthened their defense district.

In general, the city’s defense system has increased and strengthened. This is what happens when officers don’t lose their minds, but maintain control of the troops firmly.”