Despicable Russian troops taunted Ukraninan women by threatening to murder their husbands and send them their heads in a box, it has emerged.
Wives and girlfriends of soldiers in bomb-stricken Mariupol have been escaping the city thanks to the combined efforts of the UN and the Red Cross.
But according to news website Ukranian Pravada, some women were stopped at checkpoints where Russian soldiers hurled vile abuse at them while subjecting them to humiliating strip searches.
Katia, escaping the warzone with her two children, said: "Women who had acquaintances serving in the Ukrainian military or the police were threatened.
"They were promised that they would be sent their husband’s head in a box."
Terrified woman also claimed they were undressed by cruel Russian troops, who "checked" their tattoos and scars before searching their underpants.
The news comes as the last defenders of the Azovstal steel plant appealed to the chain of command to get wounded comrades to safety.
Reports suggest Russian troops invaded the plant's perimeter in a brutal air, sea and land bombardment – but the Kremlin has denied they were trying to storm the plant, instead claiming the attack was an attempt to prevent defenders moving to new positions.
Ukrainian forces have been mounting a counterattack, however, with soldiers launching offensives around Kharkiv and Izyum where Russian troops are gathering.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis has been told Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine could end as early as next week, reports say.
The religious leader was in a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who told him the Russians have a “precise plan” to end the bloody war on Tuesday, May 9.
But the Pope admitted he was sceptical that the war would end and told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera: “I have a bad feeling about it all. I’m very pessimistic.”
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