‘Defenders of Mariupol are the heroes of our time’: the battle that gripped the world

Surrounded and bombarded by Russian troops, the ‘apocalyptic’ siege that defined the brutality of Putin’s war appears over

Cut off from the world and low on food and ammunition, many of the hundreds of defenders of the Azovstal steel plant in Mauripol were wounded, some missing limbs. Their capitulation had been inevitable for weeks.

That moment came late on Monday as more than 260 – bearded, filthy, emaciated, and including 51 severely injured – laid down their arms and were evacuated amid a wider concession of defeat after 82 days of fighting in the besieged port city.

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