The Ukrainian city of Mariupol is searching for survivors inside the ruins of the theater

A photo shows the Donetsk Regional Theater of Drama destroyed in a Russian airstrike during the Russian invasion of Ukraine in Mariupol, Ukraine, in a photo obtained by Reuters on March 16, 2022. Donetsk Regional Civil-Military Administration / Handout News Service via REUTERS

March 17, 2022

By Pavel Polityuk and Vera Labych

LVIV, Ukraine (Reuters) – Rescuers were searching for survivors in the ruins of a theater in the siege of the city of Mariupol on Thursday, after Ukraine said a powerful Russian airstrike had hit the building where hundreds of people had been sheltered before the war.

The city of Hafnarfjörður is surrounded by Russian forces and has been heavily bombed. A statement from the city council said that about 30,000 residents have managed to escape so far, but over 350,000 are stuck there.

“The heart is breaking from what Russia is doing to our people, our Mariupol and our Donetsk region,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a speech late Wednesday, referring to the theatrical attack.

City council said hundreds of people, mostly women, children and the elderly, had been hiding in a nearby theater and pool building due to a major bomb attack.

“Information about the victims is still being clarified,” he said.

Earlier, Petro Andrushchenko, the mayor’s adviser, said some people survived the blast and that the bomb shelter had survived. Rescuers searched for them in the rubble.

Russia has denied blowing up the theater.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday that the allegations that Russia had blown up the theater were “lies” and that the Kremlin had repeatedly denied that Russian troops had fired on civilians since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

“Russia’s forces are not bombing cities and towns,” she told a news conference.


Satellite images of the theater taken earlier in the week before the shooting show a large structure with a red roof and the Russian word for “children” painted in large white letters on the asphalt on the front and back.

The council in Mariupol said the physical damage to the city had been “enormous”. It was estimated that about 80% of the city’s homes had been destroyed, of which almost 30% were unrepaired.

On the outskirts of town, Reuters reporters saw people walking and in cars, some pushing their belongings in shopping carts. In the background were badly burned and blown up apartment blocks, some still smoking.

Oksana Zalavska, 42, fled Mariupol two days ago and is now in Zaporizhzhia. The mother of a three-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl had stayed in an overcrowded bomb shelter where adults ate one tiny meal a day where the dose was small.

“I now know all about the famine in 2022,” she told Reuters.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Thursday urged warring parties to allow Mariupol people safely and aid.

As many as 40 Red Cross staff and their families were forced to flee the harbor along with other civilians on Wednesday because they “no longer have the capacity to act,” Peter Maurer, the organization’s chief executive, told a news conference.

Zalavska and her family once tried to escape Mariupol on March 6, when they heard that a safe passage had opened. But she said the Russians’ shootings continued, so they ran back to their shelters. In another attempt, they continued.

“To tell the truth, we were ready to die,” she said. “We could die in a bomb shelter or we could die trying to get to freedom. We had no choice. “

(Additional Reports by Stephen Farrell; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Timothy Heritage and Mike Collett-White)

The Ukrainian city of Mariupol is searching for survivors inside the ruins of the theater

Source link The Ukrainian city of Mariupol is searching for survivors inside the ruins of the theater

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