‘Days or hours left’: Russia tightens the noose in Mariupol

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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian forces have pressured a stubborn pocket of resistance in Mariupol amid renewed hopes Wednesday for an evacuation of thousands of civilians from the shattered port city.

A Ukrainian who said he was among hundreds holed up in a sprawling steel mill pleaded for help via video and said the officers and civilians inside the plant “may have only a few days or hours left.”

Mariupol is a key battleground in Moscow’s new onslaught to take control of Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland.

Russian forces have intensified their attacks along a boomerang-shaped front hundreds of miles long elsewhere in what is known as the Donbas.

If successful, the offensive would carve Ukraine in two and give President Vladimir Putin a badly needed victory.

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