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Russia writes chilling messages on bombs set for Mariupol after Eurovision plea for help
15 May 2022, 14:28 | Updated: 15 May 2022, 15:26
Russian troops have written chilling messages, mocking Ukraine's Eurovision win, on bombs they are plan to drop on trapped Ukrainians in Mariupol.
After storming up the leader board with 631 points, Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra made an impassioned plea to the west to help soldiers trapped in Mariupol's steel works.
Taking to the stage after the historic win, the frontman Oleh Psiu said: "I ask all of you, please help Ukraine, Mariupol. Help Azovstal, right now."
In retaliation, pro-Kremlin channel FighterBomber shared pictures of Russian bombs scrawled with sarcastic and chilling messages.
One shell read: "Just as you asked for, Kalusha! For Azovstal."
Another bomb read: "#Eurovision2022. I heard the call to f*** up Azov. Help Mariupol. Help Mariupol right now."
Adviser to the mayor of Mariupol, Petr Andryushchenko condemned Russia's actions posting on Telegram: "They are just inhuman... they have lost anything remotely similar to humanism and humanity.
"This is the reaction of the Russian military to our victory at Eurovision 2022... In Russia, a century of repentance will follow the losses.'"
Yesterday defiant Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed to one day host the Eurovision Song Contest in the embattled city of Mariupol, which is almost entirely in Russian hands aside from a stalwart group of a few hundred Ukrainian fighters who continue to hold out in a steel factory.
"Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe," Mr Zelensky said on Facebook. "Next year, Ukraine will host Eurovision."
The president's optimistic words come as Russian troops are retreating from Kharkiv, the country's second largest city, after bombarding it for weeks, and Moscow's forces continue to engage in a grinding battle for the country's eastern industrial heartland.
Ukraine's military said the Russian forces are now pulling back from the north-eastern city to focus on guarding supply routes, while launching mortar, artillery and air strikes in the eastern region of Donetsk in an attempt to "deplete Ukrainian forces and destroy fortifications".
Defence minister Oleksii Reznikov said Ukraine is "entering a new - long-term - phase of the war".
Russian forces control a horseshoe-shaped swath of territory in the Ukrainian areas of Donetsk and Luhansk, which make up the eastern Donbas region, along the border of the industrial region where Ukraine has battled Moscow-backed separatists since 2014.
In the southern Donbas, the Azov Sea port of Mariupol is now largely in Russian control, except for the few hundred troops left in the factory.
A convoy of between 500 and 1,000 cars carrying civilians out of the city was reportedly able to reach the Ukrainian-held city of Zaporizhzhia on Saturday, while Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said authorities are negotiating the evacuation of 60 severely wounded troops at the steelworks.
After failing to capture Kyiv following the February 24 invasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin has shifted his focus eastward to the Donbas, aiming to encircle Ukraine's most experienced and best-equipped troops, and to seize territory still under Ukraine's control.
Mr Zelensky said Ukraine's forces have also made progress in the east, retaking six towns or villages in the past day. In his nightly address on Saturday, he said "the situation in Donbas remains very difficult" and Russian troops are "still trying to come out at least somewhat victorious".
But he said: "Step by step, we are forcing the occupants to leave the Ukrainian land."