Mariupol, the living hell of the Russo-Ukrainian war, is already largely in Russian hands. As a result, many of the civilians in the city and hundreds more soldiers sought refuge in the Azov steelworks. But since then, Russian forces have been bombing the facility non-stop, according to some reports, even lung-breaking thermobaric weapons.
While only about a hundred civilians remained in the bunkers under the steel plant as a result of the successful evacuations, members of the Ukrainian unit known as the Azov Battalion on the spot promised to fight the Russians until the last round.
The soldiers will not give up
They are fighting a hard battle Ukrainian forces against Russian troops after Russian forces invaded the steelworks on May 4th. Denis Prokopenko, commander of the Azov regiment, said in a video message to the soldiers there that he was proud of them.
The deputy commander of the Azov regiment, Sviatoslav Palamar, previously said in an online press conference that they were being besieged by the Russians in a medieval way.
We are fenced off, but they are no longer sending more forces against our defenses, mostly just air strikes
He said, suggesting that the Russians were now clearly seeking to starve them. Although Azovist soldiers acknowledged that they were running out of food, water, ammunition, and a shortage of drugs, they reiterated, “Surrender is by no means an option for us.”
The wives are begging
Although the soldiers of the Azov regiment apparently do not give up at the cost of their lives, the same cannot be said of their wives, two of whom asked Pope Francis to help get their husbands out, the Reuters. One of them asked the religious leader:
“Please don’t let them die!”
Katyerina Prokopenko, 27, and Yulia Fedosjuk, 29, spoke to the pope for about five minutes at the end of an audience in St. Peter’s Square, asking him to contact Russian President Vladimir Putin directly and ask him to: let the Russian soldiers out of the steel plant .
The women then told reporters that they had reported to the pope about the conditions in the steel mill: injured soldiers, rotten meat without care, burial bodies, and a lack of food, water, and medicine.
Our soldiers are waiting to be evacuated to a third country
Pope Francis said he would do anything for the cause and pray for them. The religious leader said in an interview on May 3 that he had asked Putin for a meeting in Moscow to try to stop the war in Ukraine, but has not received a response since.
Perhaps? “sorry that our husbands raped and killed an ethic group for 8 years and tried to cleanse them, but they are really good men” pic.twitter.com/ujOfaFsPd1
– Bishnu Maharaj (@bishnu_maharaj) May 11, 2022
Our Thursday-by-minute coverage of the Russian-Ukrainian war you can read it here.
(Cover image: Wives of Ukrainian Azov soldiers trapped in an iron and steel factory in Azov, Mariupol, meet with Pope Francis on May 11, 2022. Photo: Vatican Media / Handout / Reuters)