October 4, 2022

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Ukrainian fighter trapped in Mariupol steel factory asks for help from Elon Musk

Ukrainian fighter trapped in Mariupol steel factory asks for help from Elon Musk

A view shows destroyed facilities for iron and steel works in Azovstal during the Ukraine-Russia conflict in the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine on May 11, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermoshenko

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Kyiv (Reuters) – A fighter hiding in a steel factory besieged by Russian forces in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol has appealed to billionaire Elon Musk from SpaceX to help evacuate them.

Several civilians were rescued from the sprawling Azovstal plant last week under a deal with Russia, but no agreement was reached with Moscow on allowing hundreds of fighters, some of them wounded, after weeks of bombing. Read more

Naval Commander Serhiy Volina wrote on Twitter: “People say you came from another planet to teach people to believe in the impossible. Our planets are next to each other, where I live where it is almost impossible to survive.”

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“Help us get out of Azovstal into a middle country. If it’s not you, who? Give me a hint.”

Musk, the world’s richest man, owns rocket company SpaceX and electric car maker Tesla, and plans to buy Twitter. It was not immediately clear if Musk had seen Volina’s tweet.

Ukrainian officials say there are about 1,000 fighters deployed in the many underground Azovstal tunnels, and hundreds of them are seriously injured and need urgent evacuation. The plant is under heavy Russian fire. Read more

In February, when the internet in Ukraine was disrupted in the wake of the Russian invasion, Musk responded to a tweet by a Ukrainian government official asking for help. Musk said SpaceX’s Starlink satellite broadband service is available in Ukraine and that SpaceX is sending more terminals to the country. Read more

(Reporting by Natalia Zenets), Writing by Timothy Heritage, Editing by John Stonestreet

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