More than 1,000 soldiers from the Ukrainian forces surrendered in Mariupol, a strategically important port city in Eastern parts of the country, the Russian defence ministry announced in a statement on Wednesday.

“In the city of Mariupol… 1,026 Ukrainian servicemen of the 36th Marine Brigade voluntarily laid down their arms and surrendered”, the Russian defence ministry said, according to reports from AFP.

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The statement added that 151 members of the Ukrainian forces, who belonged to the 36th Marine Brigade, were given first aid on the spot. The Ukrainians were later taken to the “Mariupol city hospital for treatment”, a roughly translated statement from the Russian defence ministry said.

“There are 162 officers and 47 female servicemen among the surrendered servicemen of the Ukrainian armed forces”, the statement added.

Mariupol, one of the first cities that landed in the crosshairs of Russian forces, is expected to be Moscow’s launchpad as it shifts focus from Kyiv to Eastern Ukraine. 

One day before the Russian defence ministry released the statement, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and Mariupol’s mayor announced that more than 10,000 civilians have died in the Russian siege of his city.

Russian forces have taken many bodies to a huge shopping center where there are storage facilities and refrigerators, Mayor Vadym Boychenko said.

“Mobile crematoriums have arrived in the form of trucks: You open it, and there is a pipe inside and these bodies are burned,” he said.

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The mayor said he had several sources for his description of the allegedly methodic burning of corpses by Russian forces in the city.

Sir Richard Barrons, a former official of the British Armed Forces said that the Russians may have “lost about 25% of the ground forces they started out within the sense that those have been units that have become noncombat effective”, Associated Press reported.