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Wives of Ukrainian soldiers trapped in Mariupol steel plant beg Pope Francis for help

By Chris Hughes

The wives of two Ukrainian soldiers left trapped in Mariupol’s steel plant today begged the Pope for help.

On a visit to the Vatican, Kateryna Prokopenko, 27, and Yuliya Fedosiuk, 29, asked Pope Francis to demand clemency for their husbands from Vladimir Putin.

Mrs Propopenko told the Pope: “You are our last hope, I hope you can save their lives. Please don’t let them die.”

Officials described the underground bolthole as a disease-ridden “medieval ghetto” containing rotting flesh and unburied bodies. The women said soldiers at the Azovstal plant lack food, water and medicine.

Mrs Prokopenko said Russian captivity “is not an option” for the soldiers as they face almost certain execution.

An injured Ukrainian soldier inside the Mariupol steel plant (via REUTERS)

The Pope said he would do everything possible for Lt Col Denis Prokopenko and Sgt Arseniy Fedosiuk, and pray for them.

Mariupol mayoral aide Petro Andryushchenko today claimed that “at least 100 civilians” remain in the “hell on earth” Azovstal shelters, which were still under attack. It was previously claimed that all civilians had been evacuated.

Human rights ombudswoman Lyudmyla Denisova urged the UN and Red Cross to help evacuate wounded fighters, with amputations taking place on even minor injuries to prevent infections.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)

War crime investigations against Russians are gathering pace, with an indictment accusing army commander Vaidm Shishimarin, 21, of murdering an unarmed cyclist in the Sumy region.

A captured Russian conscript, Alexander Martynenko, 18, accused Putin of forcing “children” to the front line.

Wounded Martynenko, who was sent 6,000 miles to fight, said in a video: “It is not only contract officers who fight here, but also children like myself, conscripts.”

Putin promised in March: “Conscripts will not be engaged in military actions.”

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Dive Deeper:
Ukrainian fighter trapped in Mariupol steel plant asks Elon Musk for help
One of the fighters holed up in a steelworks besieged by Russian forces in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol has…
'Please don't let them die' wives of Azov fighters beg pope
The wives of two of the last remaining Ukrainian fighters holed up in Mariupol's steelworks asked Pope Francis on Wednesday…
‘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 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…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Besieged fighters at Azovstal works in plea for help to evacuate wounded comrades to safety
It is a scene reminiscent of the horrors of World War I trench warfare – unshaven soldiers in filthy uniforms,…
‘I am looking into hell’: Haunting messages from soldiers inside steel plant bombed by Putin’s forces
Families of the men holding out inside Azovstal steel plant tell Kim Sengupta they want the world to help
Get all your news in one place