LVIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian forces have pushed deeper into Ukraine’s besieged and battered port city of Mariupol. Heavy fighting shut down a major steel plant there, and local authorities in the city pleaded for more Western help.
The fall of Mariupol, the scene of some of the war’s worst suffering, would mark a major battlefield advance for the Russians, who are largely bogged down outside major cities more than three weeks into the invasion.
Russian forces have already cut Mariupol off from the Sea of Azov, and its fall would link Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, to territories controlled by Moscow-backed separatists in the east.
Ukraine's president, meanwhile, repeated his call for Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet with him.