- Ukrainian soldiers, many wounded, taken to Russian-held towns
- Mariupol a win for Putin as Russian forces fall back elsewhere
- Finland and Sweden formally apply to join NATO
Russia said on Wednesday that a total of 959 Ukrainian fighters, including 80 wounded, had surrendered from the bunkers and tunnels below Mariupol's Azovstal steelworks since Monday.
The defence ministry said 694 Ukrainian fighters - including members of the Azov regiment - had surrendered in the past 24 hours, including 29 wounded.
In the latest update on what Moscow calls its special military operation, the ministry said Russia also struck eastern Ukraine with missiles in the Soledar area of the Donetsk region.
Russia also hit foreign mercenaries, destroyed Ukrainian Su-24 aircraft, Ukrainian arsenals and S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems, the ministry said.
Russia struck 76 control points and 421 troop and artillery points, including 147 artillery and mortar, with missiles and artillery, the ministry said.
It hit a Ukrainian battery of 155-mm M777 howitzers manufactured by the United States, the ministry said.
It was not possible to independently confirm the claims.
Finland and Sweden apply to NATO
The Swedish and Finnish ambassadors handed over their NATO membership application letters in a ceremony at the alliance's headquarters.
"This is a historic moment, which we must seize," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.
Ratification of all 30 allied parliaments could take up to a year, diplomats say. Turkey has surprised its allies in recent days by saying it had reservations about the new prospective members, especially their tolerance of Kurdish militant groups on their soil.
Stoltenberg said he thought the issues could be overcome. Washington has also played down the likelihood that Turkish objections would halt the accession.
Finland, which shares a 1,300-km (810-mile) border with Russia, and Sweden were both militarily non-aligned throughout the Cold War, and their decision to join the alliance represents the biggest change in European security for decades.
In a stroke, it will more than double the alliance's land border with Russia, give NATO control over nearly the entire coast of the Baltic Sea and put NATO guards just a few hours drive north of St Petersburg.
After weeks in which Russia threatened retaliation against the plans, Putin appeared to abruptly climb down this week, saying in a speech on Monday that Russia had "no problems" with either Finland or Sweden, and their NATO membership would not be an issue unless the alliance sent more troops or weapons there.
The steelworks surrender in Mariupol allows Putin to claim a rare victory in a campaign which has otherwise faltered. Recent weeks have seen Russian forces abandon the area around Ukraine's second larges city Kharkiv, now retreating at their fastest rate since they were driven from the north and the Kyiv environs at the end of March.
Nevertheless, Moscow has continued to press on with its main offensive, trying to capture more territory in the Donbas region of southeastern Ukraine which it claims on behalf of separatists it has supported since 2014.
Mariupol, the main port for the Donbas, is the biggest city Russia has captured so far, and gives Moscow full control of the Sea of Azov and an unbroken swathe of territory across the east and south of Ukraine.
The siege was the deadliest battle in Europe at least since the wars in Chechnya and the Balkans of the 1990s.
The city's months of resistance became a global emblem of Ukraine's refusal to yield against a far better-armed foe, while its near total destruction demonstrated Russia's tactic of raining down fire on population centres.
Russia insists it had agreed to no prisoner swap in advance for the Azovstal defenders, many of whom belong to the Azov Regiment, a Ukrainian unit with origins as a far right militia, which Russia describes as Nazis and blames for mistreating Russian speakers.
"I didn't know English has so many ways to express a single message: the #Azovnazis have unconditionally surrendered," tweeted Russian Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations Dmitry Polyansky.
TASS news agency reported a Russian committee planned to question the soldiers as part of an investigation into what Moscow calls "Ukrainian regime crimes".
Leonid Slutsky, one of Russia's negotiators in talks with Ukraine, called the evacuated combatants "animals in human form" and said they should be executed.