Fighters held up in Mariupol steel plant beg for help

Fighters held up in Mariupol steel plant beg for help

Ukrainian fighters who have been holed up in Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant for weeks issued a desperate plea for help, calling on the international community to evacuate those injured in the near-constant shelling.

Defenders from the Azov Regiment, a nationalist militia that is part of Ukraine’s national guard, said on Telegram Wednesday that the plant had been the target of 38 air strikes in 24 hours.

The plant’s defenders also said Russian troops continued to try to take the sprawling plant by force Wednesday.

The post came a day after the regiment shared photos of injured fighters, some with missing arms or legs, as they wait for help in the besieged city.

“The whole civilized world must see the conditions in which the wounded, crippled defenders of Mariupol are and act!” the regiment wrote in a post, adding that conditions at the plant are “completely unsanitary.”

Some of the fighters are suffering from “open wounds dressed with non-sterile remnants of bandages, without necessary medication and even food,” they said.

The remaining defenders of Mariupol's Azovstal steel plant are calling on international organizations like the Red Cross and United Nations to help evacuate injured people.
The remaining defenders of Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant are calling on international organizations like the Red Cross and United Nations to help evacuate injured people.
Azov Regiment/Handout via REUTERS
An explosion at the plant from Russian shelling on May 11, 2022.
An explosion at the plant from Russian shelling on May 11, 2022.
REUTERS/Alexander Ermoshenko

“We call on the UN and the Red Cross to show their humanity and reaffirm the basic principles on which they were created by rescuing wounded people who are no longer combatants.”

The brigade added, “We demand the immediate evacuation of wounded servicemen to Ukrainian-controlled territories where they will be assisted and provided with proper care.”

Ukrainian human rights ombudsman Lyudmyla Denisova agreed, calling on the UN and the International Red Cross to help broker an evacuation of the wounded fighters.

“The aggressor does not give the wounded military a chance to survive,” Denisova wrote on Telegram. “Due to the risk of infection because of a lack of antibiotics, medical instruments and sterile dressings, doctors are forced to amputate the limbs (of the wounded) even with minor injuries.”

Russian troops on top of an armored vehicle in Mariupol on May 11, 2022.
Russian troops on top of an armored vehicle in Mariupol on May 11, 2022.
REUTERS/Alexander Ermoshenko

The two organizations were instrumental in negotiating and affecting the evacuation of civilians from the plant over the past two weeks.

Tea wives of two Azov Regiment fighters left in Azovstal made a plea to Pope Francis in Vatican City.

“You are our last hope, I hope you can save their lives, please don’t let them die,” Kateryna Prokopenko, 27, told the Pope.

Prokopenko and Yuliya Fedosiuk, 29, met with Pope Francis for some five minutes after his regular general audience in St. Peters Square. They asked him to intervene directly with Russian President Vladimir Putin to negotiate the extraction of Mariupol’s defenders to a neutral nation.

A member of the Azov Regiment getting treatment for an injury in the Azovstal plant on May 10, 2022.
A member of the Azov Regiment getting treatment for an injury in the Azovstal plant on May 10, 2022.
EPA/REGIMENT AZOV PRESS SERVICE HANDOUT
Two injured Ukrainian servicemen inside the steel plant.
Two injured Ukrainian servicemen inside the steel plant.
Photo by DMYTRO ‘OREST’ KOZATSKYI/Azov Special Forces Regiment of /AFP via Getty Images

“Our soldiers are waiting to be evacuated to a third country, to lay down their arms in case of evacuation,” Fedosiuk told reporters.

The women said they’d last spoken to their husbands on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Petro Andrushchenko an advisor to Mariupol’s mayor, told citizens on Telegram that Russia was beginning to block access to Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp within the city.

A member of the Azov regiment with an amputated arm in the plant.
A member of the Azov regiment with an amputated arm in the plant.
Photo by DMYTRO ‘OREST’ KOZATSKYI/AFP via Getty Images

He encouraged residents to come up with “backup channels” to communicate with loved ones, and warned that the FSB was hacking at least one popular chat app.

With Post Wires

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