Who are the last resisters of the Azovstal steelworks- Corriere.it

Besieged for more than two months. The commander’s grandfather fought against the Russians in 1939

Long beards, worn faces, bloody arms and legs. For two months now barricaded in what he has become a symbol for the whole of Ukraine. The bulwark of a city that fights and resists.

Mariupol e le Azovstal steelworks, the barrier that the Russians are unable to break down. A couple of thousand boys in camouflage, Ukrainian army soldiers and men from the Azov regiment
chatted for sympathies for the ultra right.

The man who guides them, Denis Prokopenko
awarded in 2019 by Volodymyr Zelensky, he had refused a military salute to the Ukrainian president. “Civilians are not allowed,” he explained, but the controversy flared up. Today they have become the two leading figures of an entire country. Heroes, almost in spite of them. “They hardly go up to the surface, they only go to the mountains to find food and water. Most of the time they sit in bunkers. They are pessimistic, because there is almost no hope of salvation. They are preparing for the last battle because they do not believe in a diplomatic solution ». Prokopenko’s wife, Kateryna, received by Pope Francis a few days ago. She along with Yulia, wife of another fighter from the besieged steel mill, Arseniy Fedosiuk. They brought requests for help, they sought hope of salvation. They fear a tragic ending.

Denis Prokopenko è an anomalous military man. Even if he has been fighting since 2014. In that Donbass then unknown to the world and which now everyone recognizes on the maps. Redisas his men call the commander, he graduated from the Department of Germanic Philology of the University of Kiev, where he earned a bachelor’s degree specializing in teaching English.

His family, of Finnish-Karelian origin, has had an account with the Russians since 1939. Grandpa is the only survivor after the Red Army raids. “It seems that I am continuing the same war, only on another part of the front, a war against the occupation regime of the Kremlin …”.

He is also a great fan, more than an ultras, of Dynamo Kiev, the team that belonged to Andryi Shevchenko and Igor Belanov, the former Golden Ball, today also on the barricades of a match that is worth all the others he played .

“We don’t know what will happen tomorrow or in three hours,” says Kateryna, who only receives short messages from her husband. Yulia takes it out on the world: “What happens in the steel plant is not a reality show.” Two months ago Zelensky tried to award him again: with an even more prestigious medal: the official title of “Ukrainian Hero” with the Order of the Golden Cross “for the personal courage and heroism shown in defense of state sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Ukraine, and for loyalty to its military oath ”.

Wars that bring together even those who were previously on opposite sides. But that’s not a consolation.

May 16, 2022 (change May 16, 2022 | 22:59)

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