Ukraine’s Mariupol defenders face final showdown with Russian invaders

ZAPORIZHZHIA – Ukraine’s last soldiers in the port city of Mariupol face a brutal final showdown Sunday with besieging Russian forces, who are hoping to deliver a critical win ahead of the country’s victory day. President Volodymyr Zelensky is also set to hold talks with G7 leaders via video conference to discuss the situation in his country, which fears a renewed intensity to Moscow’s offensive after the evacuation of civilians from Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks.

The complex — the final pocket of Ukrainian resistance in the devastated port city — has taken on a symbolic value in the war as hundreds of civilians and soldiers hole up in its sprawling underground.

Zelensky said hundreds of people had been removed from the plant Saturday and that preparations for another stage of evacuation comprising the wounded and medics were under way.

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