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Relatives of Azovstal fighters appeal to China's Xi

STORY: “Today we appeal to Xi Jinping, because he is Putin's economic partner, and Putin can enter into a dialogue with him. So we ask him to have this fruitful dialogue and through the extraction procedure to take our fighters to a third country, which could be Turkey,” the wife of a Ukrainian marine, Hanna Ivleyeva, told the media.

Mariupol, which has seen the heaviest fighting in nearly three months of the war, is now in Russian hands but hundreds of Ukrainian defenders are still holding out at the Azovstal steelworks complex despite weeks of heavy Russian bombardment.

Very complex talks are underway to evacuate a large number of wounded soldiers from a besieged steel works in the strategic southeastern port of Mariupol in return for the release of Russian prisoners of war, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said late on Friday (May 13).

Russia, which initially insisted the defenders in the sprawling Soviet-era bunkers beneath the steel works give themselves up, has said little publicly about the talks.

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