Ukraine fighters' bodies still in Mariupol: ex-commander

STORY: The bodies of more than 200 Ukrainian fighters are still yet to be retrieved from the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol.

That's according to the former commander of Ukraine's Azov National Guard regiment in footage he posted on his Telegram channel on Sunday (June 12), weeks after Russia claimed full control of the southern port city.

Maksym Zhorin said that under the terms of a recent exchange, 220 bodies of those killed in Azovstal had been sent to Kyiv.

''Just as many bodies still remain in Mariupol. And now processes, negotiations are going on about further exchange and returning them home. Absolutely all the bodies must be returned home and we will work on this.”

Hundreds of fighters holed up in the steelworks were taken into Russian custody in mid-May.

However, many were also killed during Russian attacks on the plant and the city.

''And now the very difficult work begins, very difficult processes regarding the identification of the bodies. The fact is that most of these bodies are in a very bad condition and it is impossible to identify them visually, for example.”

DNA testing and servicemen's uniforms and insignia would be used to help with the identification, Zhorin said.

Mariupol has been reduced to a wasteland after months of siege and bombardment that Ukraine says has killed tens of thousands of people.

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