Dozens of Ukrainian service members killed in Mariupol battle return home

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Dozens of Ukrainian service members killed in Mariupol battle return home

The remains of dozens of bodies of Ukrainian service members killed in the battle for the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol have been returned to Ukraine and have begun arriving in Kyiv, the Ukrainian government announced on Tuesday.

Many of the dead were members of the Azov regiment, which led the defense of the city for months under relentless Russian attack from ground, sea and air until their surrender in May.

Ukraine s Ministry for Reintegration of Occupied Territories announced the first officially confirmed exchange of war dead since the conflict began over the weekend. It said the two sides had exchanged a total of 320 bodies, each getting back 160 sets of remains. It didn't give any details on where the bodies were recovered from.

The Association of Families of Defenders of Azovstal said on Tuesday that about a third of the bodies handed over by Russia were members of the Azov regiment. Forensic experts are looking at the bodies and conducting DNA analysis in an effort to determine their identities.