Dramatic appeal to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to mediate to save lives of the last defenders of the Azofstal steel industry addressed their families as reported by CNN.
In their touching appeal to Erdogan, urge him to “become a hero” and start an evacuation process for all remaining fighters in the factory. Speaking to reporters in Kyiv, the father of an 18-year-old fighter urged the Turkish leader to seize “a historic opportunity to go down in history as a peacemaker, as a hero”.
“As a human being, a father to a father, I beg you to save my son and his comrades,” begged Yevgeny Sukharnikov, citing Turkey’s experience with military mining operations in the Middle East.
Using examples of evacuations in Syria, as well as in Dunkirk during World War II, Sukharnikov called for a civilian ship to be sent to collect the fighters. The fighter’s father also suggested they be transferred to a neutral country, away from hostilities.
“We need a hero, a person with enough political power to carry out this process. “Politically and geographically, we believe that Turkey can be this country and Erdogan can be that person.”
The families of the fighters gathered 1.5 million signatures at their request to ensure a safe passage through the factory for the defenders of Azofstal.
“The UN and the Red Cross are only interested in the people,” said the wife of a fighter as she stood next to her young son. A friend of an Azov fighter warned that if the fighters were abandoned: “Ukraine will not have a bright future.”
Ukraine offered to release Russian prisoners of warin exchange for evacuating wounded Ukrainian soldiers from the besieged steel plant. It is believed that there are still several hundred soldiers in this last Ukrainian fortress in Mariupol. Russia continues to bomb the factory regularly, according to the Russian and Ukrainian armies.