Fall of Mariupol appears at hand; fighters leave steel plant

Russia is close to taking Mariupol, which has been bombarded into near ruins for three months. It would be the biggest city taken by Moscow's forces.

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World News

May 17, 2022 - 3:21 PM

Russian emergency personnel clear debris in the partially destroyed Mariupol drama theater in the city of Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 10, 2022, amid the ongoing Russian military action in Ukraine. (Stringer/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Mariupol appeared on the verge of falling to the Russians on Tuesday as Ukraine moved to abandon the steel plant where hundreds of its fighters had held out for months under relentless bombardment in the last bastion of resistance in the devastated city.

The capture of Mariupol would make it the biggest city to be taken by Moscow’s forces yet and would give the Kremlin a badly needed victory, though the landscape has largely been reduced to rubble.

More than 260 fighters — some of them seriously wounded and taken out on stretchers — left the ruins of the Azovstal plant on Monday and turned themselves over to the Russian side in a deal reached by the two warring parties. Ukrainian authorities said they were working to extract the remaining soldiers from the sprawling steel mill, though how many were still there was unclear.

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