- A Ukrainian official compared the soldiers in Mariupol’s steel plant to ancient Spartan warriors.
- He compared their situation to the legendary battle shown in the movie “300.”
- The troops were evacuated Tuesday after 83 days, and Ukraine praised them for holding out so long.
A Ukrainian official compared the Ukrainian soldiers who spent 83 days in Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant to the legendary 300 Spartans after they held back Russia’s forces for months while vastly outnumbered.
In a tweet on Monday, Mykhailo Podolyak, an advisor to Ukraine’s president, said: “83 days of Mariupol defense will go down in history as the Thermopylae of the XXI century.
“‘Azovstal’ defenders ruined [Russia]’s plan to capture the east of [Ukraine], took a hit on themselves and proved the real “combat capability” of [Russia]… This completely changed the course of the war.”
—Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) May 17, 2022
The battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. saw a small force from the ancient Greek city-state of Sparta hold back a massive army from the Persian Empire.
The main force there was 300 elite soldiers, who became legendary symbols of bravery and defiance. Even though they lost the battle, various Greek states later forced back Persia and won the war.
The battle was depicted in the hit movie “300,” starring Gerard Butler:
In Ukraine, a few hundred Ukrainian soldiers resisted Russia from inside the city’s steel plant for 83 days.
Ukraine said on Tuesday that they were being evacuated to Russian-controlled territory, and that they would be exchanged for captured Russians. The move effectively ceded the city to Russia’s forces.
The steel plant was the last point of resistance in Mariupol, a port city that offers big strategic advantages to Russia.
Ukraine’s armed forces said that the soldiers holding on in the steel plant had prevented Russia from quickly taking territory in the area, and gave Ukraine more time to mount a defense against Russia in the region.
Many soldiers in the plant were injured, and they faced a shortage of food, water, and supplies, Ukrainian officials said.
“Mariupol defenders are heroes of our time. They are forever in history,” the armed forces said on Tuesday.