Mothers and wives of the beleaguered Azovstal garrison in Ukraine say that their heroic struggle is nearly over.
A small group of Ukrainians have held off the Russians for over 80 days in the sprawling Azovstal steelworks, but it appears they are close to the end.
Sky News’ Natalya Zarytska said that her husband is “in a real hell”. He has lost more than 20 kg in weight. He is very ugly and in terrible health.”
As the siege continued, she married Bohdan online in April.
She said, “I believe that this is the ending.”
“This is his final photo. This is his last photo. His face is yellow. He has lost more than 20 kilos.
She talked about the last time she spoke with him, a week ago.
“He stated that Azovstal’s ring is becoming thinner and will soon end.”
When asked if she believes she will see him again, she replied: “Yes, I hope so. While I believe there is no chance, my heart believes that they can be saved.
Other important developments:
* President Zelenskyy states that talks with Russia to get wounded defenders out the Azovstal plant at Mariupol were “very complicated”.
Interfax reported that Russian fighter jets took part in Baltic Sea drills.
* Russia declares that it will take appropriate precautionary steps if NATO deploys nukes and other infrastructure near its border
* Ukraine has hundreds of Russian soldiers lying in wait in a train, in frigerated storage. They will be sent home to their families.
* An American think tank claims that Russia has lost the battle to become Ukraine’s second largest city.
Yulia Tarasenko shared a photo of Oleksandr, her husband, in happier times.
They met at a border checkpoint in 2016, and they have a son, a three year old boy.
She cried as she spoke of her desperate desire to see him again.
She said, “As any woman would, I’m crying I miss him so much.” It’s a huge tragedy for me, my family. Although we have a wonderful relationship, it has been so long since we were apart. He used to text me “Honey, I need to return to be with you” every day.
“He knows that I am waiting for Him”
Mothers and wives gathered in Kyiv for a press conference to urge world leaders to take action and expel the fighters. They urged Xi Jinping of China to lead the way.
Svetlana was the only one who gave her first name. Her son is currently in Azovstal. She told me that despite all odds, she would see him again.
She replied, “Of course. He must come back. He is my son, and he must return. He knows that I will be waiting for him. Of course, no doubt. I have no doubts.”
However, the odds of any Ukrainian fighters emerging out of the steelworks are becoming increasingly dim.
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Russia has rejected all attempts to negotiate safe passage and an exit. Vladimir Putin stated to his defense minister that no fly should be allowed out of the steelworks.
Moscow rejected Turkey’s offer to accept the fighters, but it did offer safe passage.
Russia has been unable to take full control of Mariupol because of the Azovstal siege. It was unable to forcefully take any major Ukrainian cities without it.
Despite being outnumbered, the Ukrainians used the labyrinthine complex as a way to escape capture and defeat.
Although they have fought harder than anyone expected, the desperate pleas of their loved ones are a sign that their incredible battle may be over soon.