The wives of two Ukrainian soldiers holed up in a Mariupol steel mill met with Pope Francis on Wednesday, asking him to help arrange evacuation of the troops before Russian soldiers overrun the sprawling plant.
Yuliia Fedusiuk, meeting with the pope at the conclusion of his weekly general audience in the Vatican’s St. Peter’s Square, said food and water were running out in the mill, that some soldiers were injured and dead and that the survivors were ready to lay down their arms. But they want to be evacuated to a third country, concerned that they would be tortured and killed if they surrendered to the Russians.
“You are our last hope. We hope you can save their lives, said Kateryna Prokopenko, who wept as she greeted Pope Francis. “Please don’t let them die.”