100s of titles, one news app for just $10 a month.
Dive Deeper:
‘Don’t let them die’: Wives of last remaining Azovstal fighters plead with Pope Francis for help
‘Don’t let them die,’ the women said pleading with the Pope for support
Wives of Ukrainian soldiers trapped in Mariupol steel plant beg Pope Francis for help
Kateryna Prokopenko, 27, and Yuliya Fedosiuk, 29, asked Pope Francis to demand clemency for their husbands from Vladimir Putin. The…
Wives of Mariupol soldiers tell pope: ‘You are our last hope’
The wives of two Ukrainian soldiers defending the Mariupol steel mill have met Pope Francis and begged him to intervene…
Wives of Mariupol defenders to pope: 'You are our last hope'
The wives of two Ukrainian soldiers defending the Mariupol steel mill have met with Pope Francis
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (May 11)
A roundup of key developments and the latest in-depth coverage of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Ukrainian fighter trapped in Mariupol steelworks pleads for Elon Musk to help
‘If not you, then who?’ fighter asks as survivors fear death in sprawling steel plant
Get all your news in one place
Latest Politics news:
NSW prepares decade-long industry policy blueprint
The New South Wales Government is rethinking its Industry policy to account for “transformative forces” like decarbonisation, digitisation, and shifting…
Read news from The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more, with one subscription
Learn More
LGBTI refugees seeking protection in Kenya struggle to survive in a hostile environment
Kenya is now the second biggest refugee hosting country in Africa. Of its over half a million refugees, over a…
Mombasa Port: how Kenya's auditor-general misread China's Standard Gauge Railway contracts
In December 2018, a leaked letter from the Kenyan auditor-general’s office sparked a rumour that Kenya had staked its bustling…
The next govt must make technology reform a core agenda item
As the federal election looms, the final bursts of campaign fervor, news coverage and election chatter spreads nationally. For many…
Kenya's judiciary can break the cycle of electoral violence -- if it's independent
Kenya is no stranger to highly contested elections, including those pervaded by political and ethnic violence.
From analysis to good news, read the world’s best news in one place
Xenophobia does not tell the full story of migration in South Africa
The dominant story of migration in South Africa is that of xenophobia. The subject is regularly in the news with…
‘You can’t even talk English, so don’t talk!’ How linguistic racism impacts immigrants in the UK
When Holan Liang was 17, she spent her holidays working at her father’s computer parts company. In her recent book,…

'Please don't let them die' wives of Azov fighters beg pope

By Philip Pullella
Wives of Ukrainian Azov soldiers currently trapped inside the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in Mariupol attend the weekly general audience held by Pope Francis at the Vatican, May 11, 2022. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

The wives of two of the last remaining Ukrainian fighters holed up in Mariupol's steelworks asked Pope Francis on Wednesday to help get soldiers to a third country, with one telling him: "please don't let them die".

Kateryna Prokopenko, 27, and Yuliya Fedosiuk, 29, spoke to the pope for about five minutes at the end of his general audience in St. Peter's Square, also asking him to intervene directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin to let them go because "Russian captivity is not an option".

Wives of Ukrainian Azov soldiers currently trapped inside the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in Mariupol attend the weekly general audience held by Pope Francis at the Vatican, May 11, 2022. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Mariupol, a port on the Sea of Azov, has endured the most destructive fighting of the war in Ukraine. Kyiv says it is likely that tens of thousands of people have been killed there since Russia's invasion on Feb. 24, and the Azovstal steel plant is the last part of the city still held by Ukrainian fighters.

"You are our last hope, I hope you can save their lives, please don't let them die," Prokopenko could be heard telling the pope on a video released by the Vatican.

The women told reporters afterwards that they described to the pope scenes of injured soldiers, rotting flesh, unburied bodies and lack of food, water and medicine at the steelworks.

Wives of Ukrainian Azov soldiers currently trapped inside the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in Mariupol attend the weekly general audience held by Pope Francis at the Vatican, May 11, 2022. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

They said they last spoke to their husbands, members of the Azov Regiment, on Tuesday.

"Our soldiers are waiting to be evacuated to a third country, to lay down their arms in case of evacuation," Fedosiuk said.

"Russian captivity is not an option for them," Prokopenko said.

Wives of Ukrainian Azov soldiers currently trapped inside the Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in Mariupol meet with Pope Francis as they attend the weekly general audience at the Vatican, May 11, 2022. Vatican Media/­Handout via REUTERS

The pope said he would do everything possible and would pray for them.

We asked him to come to Ukraine and to talk to Putin and tell him to 'let them go,', Fedosiuk said. The women mentioned Switzerland and Turkey as possibilities but gave no details.

Scores of civilians have been evacuated from the steelworks in recent days, but an aide to Mariupol's mayor, Petro Andryushchenko, said at least 100 still remained inside.

Francis said in an interview published on May 3 that he asked for a meeting in Moscow with Putin to try to stop the war in Ukraine but had not received a reply. [L2N2WV07U]

Fedosiuk called for countries to form a "a strong diplomatic coalition to push Putin to let them go safely to a third country".

Fedosiuk added that the last time she spoke to her husband, he asked her to find a article on the internet about how to live without water for the longest possible time.

The Azov Regiment said in a social media post on Tuesday that in the past 24 hours, 34 Russian aircraft had flown over the plant including eight sorties by strategic bombers.

It said the plant had come under fire from the Russian navy and from tanks, artillery and rockets. Reuters was unable to verify the situation.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a "special operation" to disarm Ukraine and protect it from fascists. Ukraine and the West say the fascist allegation is baseless and that the war is an unprovoked act of aggression.

(Reporting by Philip PullellaEditing by Alexandra Hudson)

What is inkl?
The world’s most important news, from 100+ trusted global sources, in one place.
Morning Edition
Your daily
news overview

Morning Edition ensures you start your day well informed.

No paywalls, no clickbait, no ads
Enjoy beautiful reading

Content is only half the story. The world's best news experience is free from distraction: ad-free, clickbait-free, and beautifully designed.

Expert Curation
The news you need to know

Stories are ranked by proprietary algorithms based on importance and curated by real news journalists to ensure that you receive the most important stories as they break.

Dive Deeper:
‘Don’t let them die’: Wives of last remaining Azovstal fighters plead with Pope Francis for help
‘Don’t let them die,’ the women said pleading with the Pope for support
Wives of Ukrainian soldiers trapped in Mariupol steel plant beg Pope Francis for help
Kateryna Prokopenko, 27, and Yuliya Fedosiuk, 29, asked Pope Francis to demand clemency for their husbands from Vladimir Putin. The…
Wives of Mariupol soldiers tell pope: ‘You are our last hope’
The wives of two Ukrainian soldiers defending the Mariupol steel mill have met Pope Francis and begged him to intervene…
Wives of Mariupol defenders to pope: 'You are our last hope'
The wives of two Ukrainian soldiers defending the Mariupol steel mill have met with Pope Francis
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Russia-Ukraine war: What happened today (May 11)
A roundup of key developments and the latest in-depth coverage of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Ukrainian fighter trapped in Mariupol steelworks pleads for Elon Musk to help
‘If not you, then who?’ fighter asks as survivors fear death in sprawling steel plant
Get all your news in one place