Russia brands Ukrainian steel plant defenders terrorists

A Ukrainian soldier stands inside the ruined Azovstal steel plant May 16 prior to surrender to the Russian forces in Mariupol, Ukraine. Russia’s Supreme Court has declared Ukraine’s Azov Regiment a terrorist organization and that designation could lead to terror charges against some of the captured fighters who made their last stand inside the shattered steel plant.

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia’s Supreme Court declared Ukraine’s Azov Regiment a terrorist organization Tuesday, a move that could lead to terror charges against some of the captured fighters who made their last stand inside Mariupol's shattered steel plant.

Russia and its separatist allies are holding an estimated 1,000 Azov soldiers prisoner, many of them since their surrender at the steelworks in mid-May. Russian authorities have opened criminal cases against them, accusing them of killing civilians. The addition of terrorism charges could mean fewer rights and longer prison sentences.

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