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Russia-Ukraine war live updates: Evacuation of Ukrainian soldiers underway at Mariupol steel plant

Russia-Ukraine war live updates: Evacuation of Ukrainian soldiers underway at Mariupol steel plant

Buses carrying Ukrainian fighters evacuated from a steel plant in Mariupol arrive in Russian-controlled territory on Monday. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Yesterday at 1:22 a.m. EDT|Updated today at 10:31 p.m. EDT

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One of the war’s bloodiest and most high-profile battles entered its final phase on Monday, as Ukraine’s military command announced the end of combat operations in Mariupol and began working to evacuate the soldiers who held off Russian forces for weeks at a sprawling steel plant.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the troops as heroes and said, “We hope that we will be able to save the lives of our guys.” A top Ukrainian defense official said more than 260 soldiers have been transported to Russian-controlled territory, including 53 who were “seriously wounded” and taken to a hospital. Moscow and Kyiv will broker a prisoner swap to secure their release, the official said, and efforts are underway to rescue the troops who remain trapped in the plant.

Even as Russia came away with an apparent victory in Mariupol, it suffered another setback on the global stage, as Sweden ended 200 years of military nonalignment to join Finland in applying for NATO membership. The Western military alliance is now considering its largest expansion in decades, and the Nordic countries’ neighbors have pledged protection through the accession process in the event of Russian retaliation.

Here’s what else to know

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to downplay NATO’s possible expansion, saying he had “no problems” with Sweden and Finland seeking admission.
  • Despite a mostly stalled offensive in eastern Donbas, Russian forces have made modest gains amid heavy fighting in the Donetsk region, the Pentagon said.
  • The U.S. Senate voted to advance a bill that would send nearly $40 billion in additional military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine. A final vote will probably be scheduled for this week.
  • McDonald’s said Monday that it would sell its Russian business, seeking a “local buyer” for its 850 restaurants in the country. French automaker Renault Group also said it would pull out of Russia.
  • The Washington Post has lifted its paywall for readers in Russia and Ukraine. Telegram users can subscribe to our channel.

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