Defenders inside Ukrainian steel mill refuse to surrender

LVIV, Ukraine (AP) - Ukrainian fighters battling Russian forces in the tunnels beneath Mariupol's immense steel plant refused to surrender in the face of relentless attacks, with the wife of one commander saying they had vowed to "stand till the end."

The fight in the last Ukrainian stronghold of the strategic port city reduced to ruins by the Russian onslaught appeared increasingly desperate amid growing speculation that President Vladimir Putin wants to present the Russian people with a battlefield triumph - or announce an escalation of the war - in time for Victory Day on Monday.

"They won't surrender," Kateryna Prokopenko said Thursday after speaking by phone to her husband, a leader of the steel plant defenders. "They only hope for a miracle."

She said her husband, Azov Regiment commander Denys Prokopenko, told her he would love her forever.