Russia-Ukraine news Ukrainian fighters at besieged Azovstal

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has honored the country’s most famous dog, Patron, for his dedication.

Patron, a Jack Russell terrier mix, has become a national figure since the Russian invasion for his work with bomb disposal teams in the northern city of Chernihiv. He is credited with uncovering some 150 munitions as one of a team working for the State Emergency Service.

Zelensky presented Patron and his owner, Myhailo Iliev, with the state award “For Dedicated Service” at a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The Chernihiv demining team has used Canadian technology in its work.

At Sunday’s ceremony, Trudeau appeared to search his pockets for treats — but without success.

At previous media appearances, Patron appears to have been unimpressed by the attention his work has generated.

krainian fighters at the besieged Azovstal steel plant in the southeastern port of Mariupol, who are the last holdout against Russian forces in the city, vowed on Sunday to continue their stand as long as they are alive.

“We will continue to fight as long as we are alive to repel the Russian occupiers,” Captain Sviatoslav Palamar, a deputy commander of Ukraine’s Azov Regiment, told an online news conference.

“We don’t have much time, we are coming under intense shelling,” he said, pleading with the international community to help to evacuate wounded soldiers from the plant.

Illia Samoilenko, a fighter with the Azov Regiment who also took part in the virtual conference, said they still had weapons, munitions and water, and were prepared to fight as long as they must.

“We can die at any moment… Our message is don’t waste our efforts,” Samoilenko said, calling on the Ukrainian government to rely more on continuing fighting against Russian forces than hopes that Moscow can be pacified by negotiations.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a late night address on Saturday that more than 300 civilians had been rescued from the Azovstal plant. He said authorities would now focus on evacuating the wounded and medics, and helping residents elsewhere in Mariupol and surrounding settlements to safety.

Palamar said he could not confirm that all civilians had been evacuated from the plant as Ukrainian fighters are not able to check and clear all the bombed areas.

Former Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives (CDU) looked set to make a clear win a regional election in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein on Sunday, in a boost to the party which was ousted from national government in federal elections last year.

An exit poll by ARD Tagesschau put the CDU at 43% of the vote, up 11 percentage points compared to the last vote, while the Social Democrats slumped to 15.5%.

The environmental Greens and the pro-business FDP parties, who have been in a coalition with the conservatives since 2017 scored 17% and 7% respectively.

The South Schleswig Party (SSW), which represents the ethnic Danish minority, won 6% of the votes while both the far-right AfD and far-left Linke parties did not reach the 5% of votes necessary to secure seats in the state’s parliament.

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