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Singer Ruslana seeks Turkey’s help for Ukrainian fighters in Mariupol

Ruslana, Ukrainian singer and former Eurovision Song Contest winner, speaks during a news conference in Istanbul, Turkey (Mucahid Yapici/AP)
Ruslana, Ukrainian singer and former Eurovision Song Contest winner, speaks during a news conference in Istanbul, Turkey (Mucahid Yapici/AP)

A Ukrainian singer and former Eurovision Song Contest winner has appealed to Turkey’s president to save Ukrainian fighters from the besieged city of Mariupol amid Russia’s war.

Ruslana, whose song Wild Dances catapulted her to number one in the music contest in 2004, spoke at a news conference in Istanbul.

She was flanked by the mothers and wives of the “Mariupol defenders” – Ukrainian fighters who are defending the city’s steel mill.

“Stand with Ukraine. Unite for Ukraine. Help Mariupol. Help Azovstal. Help our brave Ukrainian soldiers,” she said.

Ruslana, Ukrainian singer and former Eurovision Song Contest winner, centre, speaks during a news conference in Istanbul, Turkey
Ruslana, centre, speaks during a news conference in Istanbul, Turkey (Mucahid Yapici/AP)

“I truly believe that today Turkey’s leader President Erdogan, who has an international role and presence, will help our citizens in need.”

Several hundred Ukrainian fighters are estimated to be holed up at the sprawling Azovstal steelworks plant, the last pocket of resistance in a city largely reduced to rubble over the past two months.

Ruslana’s comments came as Europe pushed to toughen its response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with Sweden joining Finland in deciding to seek Nato membership and European Union officials working to rescue proposed sanctions against Russian oil.