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In Photos: The Destruction of Mariupol

Ukraine warns that time is running out for the last defenders of the southern city of Mariupol as Russian forces close in.

The city has withstood nearly two months of Russian bombardments, with photos showing widespread devastation of civilian areas and reports of food, water and medicine shortages.

The port city on the Sea of Azov holds great strategic value for Russia as it forms part of a land bridge between Russia-annexed Crimea and the breakaway separatist republics of eastern Ukraine's Donbas region.

Moscow has made repeated calls for the city's defenders to surrender, but Ukrainian resistance has continued despite the odds.

A commander in the besieged Azovstal steel plant issued a desperate plea for help Wednesday, saying his marines were "maybe facing our last days, if not hours."

Here is a look at Mariupol amid the destruction and the ongoing fighting and Avozstal siege: