Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that there is no need to storm the industrial area around the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol and those who choose to surrender should be treated in accordance with international conventions.
"I believe the proposed storming of the industrial zone is no longer necessary," Putin told Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at a meeting at the Kremlin, according to state media.
The industrial area, Putin told Shoigu, should be sealed and those remaining at the plant should once again be offered to surrender in exchange for their lives and a "dignified treatment."
Putin also congratulated Shougu and the Russian military on taking control of the city of Mariupol.
"Completing the military task of liberating Mariupol is a great achievement, I congratulate you," Putin said.
Ukrainian officials have denied that Mariupol has fallen to Russia.