Wives Ukraine Soldiers Ask Pope To Save Their Husbands’ Lives


By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy

CITY/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – The wives of two Ukrainian fighters still holed up in the steel plant of Ukraine’s bombed-out city of Mariupol’s begged to save their lives.

Kateryna Prokopenko and Yuliya Fedosiuk spoke with the pope in the Vatican’s St Peter’s Square about the human suffering inside Mariupol’s Azvostal steel works.

In a video released by the Vatican, they tearfully asked Pope Francis to help their husbands, saying: “Please don’t let them die.”

The two young women told him that the remaining soldiers had no food or water, many were injured, and some were dead.

They said the troops were waiting to be evacuated to a third country. If given sufficient guarantees, the soldiers say they are “ready to lay down their arms,” the women said.

The visibly moved Francis pledged he would do everything possible and will pray for them and shook hands with the two women. They pleaded with the pope to visit Ukraine, perhaps Zaporizhzhia, or talk to Russian President Vladimir to end the “cruel” .

500 WIVES

The women met the pope and later reporters on behalf of some 500 wives of Ukrainian soldiers fighting in the steel plant. “I can’t even explain what I felt at that moment,” said Fedosiuk about their encounter with Francis.

“I was a little nervous because it was a historic moment. And we all hope that it will help save the lives of our husbands and soldiers in Azovstal. We hope this meeting gives us a chance to save their lives,” she added.

Fedosiuk and Prokopenko confirmed that they spoke to Pope Francis in English about the situation in Azvostal, where as many as 1,000 and at least about 100 civilians remain stuck.

Wives reportedly fear their husbands will be tortured and killed by Russian forces.

Most of those in the plant’s tunnels are injured, and several have already died, Fedosiuk and Prokopenko said.

The victims did not receive a burial, and their bodies are decomposing in the extensive tunnel system under the steel plant, the young women stressed.

LITTLE WATER

Those staying in the tunnels face a scarcity of supplies, with little food, water, and medical supplies. Mariupol, named after the Virgin Mary, has reportedly no functioning hospitals due to ’s extensive shelling campaign on the port city.

“The situation is terrible, and we all feel it,” said the Ukrainian women. “We are following from here. Every day we receive terrible news from our husbands.”

They recalled that one of the soldiers called his wife in recent days, asking her to look up an article on how to live without water for as long as possible. “That is their situation!”

With swollen faces and missing limbs, Ukrainian fighters who for weeks have been defending Mariupol’s steel plant also issued a desperate plea for help.

The Azov Regiment, the nationalist group that is part of Ukraine’s national guard defending the Azovstal plant, shared photos of the injured fighters on its Telegram channel. Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused them of being “Neo-Nazis.”

Some were seen with missing arms or legs, while many sat with bandaged wounds, waiting for help that they fear won’t arrive as Russian troops continue their attacks.

SHATTERED CITY

The last bastion of Ukraine’s defense in the shattered port city appeared likely to be taken over by Russian forces.

“The whole civilized world must see the conditions in which the wounded, crippled defenders of Mariupol are and act!” the regiment wrote on social media. The conditions at the plant are “completely unsanitary,” and the wounded are without access to medication and food, it added.

The regiment said that along with those photographed, “hundreds more” need medical attention due to constant shelling from Russian forces.

It urged the and the Red Cross to evacuate the wounded treated in makeshift hospitals at the industrial site. One of those hospitals was targeted in an airstrike Tuesday, local said.

An estimated 300 women and children were recently evacuated from the sprawling steel plant after weeks spent trapped underground at the site. Some who made it out said they had spent more than a month hidden inside cold tunnels below the complex, without sunlight or food.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that rescue operations would be increasingly complex as his government had tried “all possible diplomatic tools.”

STRONG COALITION

He claimed that Moscow had not agreed on any proposal to evacuate the remaining soldiers.

Back in Vatican City, the two wives of soldiers meeting the pope urged the world community to form “a strong coalition” to allow Mariupol soldiers and civilians to reach a third country.

Asked which country, they said, “It depends on those who dare to take them in. It could be , Switzerland, or any other country that wants to be the first to evacuate, help, and rescue them. We are waiting for that. If our husbands could go somewhere else, we would go with them.”

However, “we hope to go back to Kyiv and the Ukraine we love. It is important for us; we don’t want to be refugees,” the women said in published remarks.

The Vatican is involved in ongoing diplomacy to help end the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In February, the pope visited the Russian embassy in Rome to plead for peace.

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