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Zelensky ready to swap prisoners for civilians trapped in Mariupol

Videos from Reuters and uploaded on social media showed lifeless bodies along a highway south of Mariupol's Ilyich steel and iron plant. (Video: Reuters/Twitter)

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Wednesday he is ready to exchange Russian prisoners for civilians trapped in the port city of Mariupol, where Moscow’s forces appear close to a key victory and surround Ukrainians at a steel plant.

For days now, Ukraine has rebuffed Russian deadlines to surrender in the southern battleground, as the Kremlin launches a new attack in the east and trades threats and diplomatic slights with the West. Zelensky said troops are defending wounded soldiers and about 1,000 civilians sheltered inside the Azovstal plant.

Plans for humanitarian evacuations from the city fell apart Wednesday, according to Russian and Ukrainian officials, who blamed each other. New videos showed civilians dead in the streets. Russian leaders accused Kyiv of withholding “the only correct order” for its outnumbered troops — “to stop pointless resistance and lay down arms” — while Ukrainians called for talks to resume evacuations.

What else to know

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Here's what to know:

Russian President Vladimir Putin promoted the test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, dubbed “Satan 2,” in a message to the West.
The U.S. is transferring a fleet of Mi-17 helicopters, originally purchased for Afghanistan’s deposed government, to Ukraine.
More than 5 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, according to the latest data published by the U.N. refugee agency.
World leaders walked out of a Group of 20 meeting when Russia’s finance minister began to speak, two people said.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Wednesday that Berlin will end Russian oil imports by the end of the year.
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War in Ukraine: What you need to know

The latest: Russia claimed to have seized control of Soledar, a heavily contested salt-mining town in eastern Ukraine where fighting has raged recently, but a Ukrainian military official maintained that the battle was not yet over. The U.S. and Germany are sending tanks to Ukraine.

Russia’s Gamble: The Post examined the road to war in Ukraine, and Western efforts to unite to thwart the Kremlin’s plans, through extensive interviews with more than three dozen senior U.S., Ukrainian, European and NATO officials.

Photos: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground from the beginning of the war — here’s some of their most powerful work.

How you can help: Here are ways those in the U.S. can support the Ukrainian people as well as what people around the world have been donating.

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