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Evacuation of Ukrainian soldiers underway at Mariupol steel plant

Buses carrying Ukrainian fighters evacuated from a steel plant in Mariupol arrive in Russian-controlled territory on Monday. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)
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One of the war’s bloodiest and most high-profile battles entered its final phase on Monday, as Ukraine’s military command announced the end of combat operations in Mariupol and began working to evacuate the soldiers who held off Russian forces for weeks at a sprawling steel plant.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the troops as heroes and said, “We hope that we will be able to save the lives of our guys.” A top Ukrainian defense official said more than 260 soldiers have been transported to Russian-controlled territory, including 53 who were “seriously wounded” and taken to a hospital. Moscow and Kyiv will broker a prisoner swap to secure their release, the official said, and efforts are underway to rescue the troops who remain trapped in the plant.

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