Ukraine: Search for Mariupol survivors after the bombing of a theater serving as a shelter

LVIV, Ukraine (Reuters) – Rescuers were trying on Thursday to find survivors trapped under the rubble of a theater that housed many civilians Mariupol, in southern Ukraine, targeted the day before, according to the Ukrainian authorities. a Russian airstrike, which Moscow denies.

“The air-raid shelter held. Now the rubble is being cleared. There are survivors but we don’t yet know the number of casualties,” an adviser to the city’s mayor, Petro, told Reuters by phone. Andrushchenko.

Ukrainian authorities on Wednesday accused Russian forces of dropping a powerful bomb on the theatre, where they said hundreds of civilians – including many children – had taken refuge as the strategic port city has been besieged for more than two weeks by Russian troops.

Between 400 and 500 people could have been in this theater at the time of the strike, explained a spokeswoman for the military administration of the Donetsk region.

According to her, 1,000 people were inside the theater last week.

“But after that, many people managed to escape. We can’t say exactly how many people were still inside. We can just assume that there were about half of them left, or 400,500 people,” he said. she said.

On satellite images taken from the beginning of the week, before this strike, we can clearly see the word “children” in Russian, written on the ground in large white letters in the squares in front and behind the building.

The spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry again denied on Thursday any involvement of Russian forces in this strike, repeating as Russia has done since the start of the invasion of Ukraine on February 24 last that Russian troops will not not target civilians.

“Russian armed forces do not bomb cities,” she said.

Russia describes the offensive it launched three weeks ago as a “special military operation” aimed at demilitarizing and “denazifying” Ukraine and preventing a “genocide” of Russian-speaking populations in the east of the country.

(Report Pavel Polityuk, written by Alessandra Prentice; French version Myriam Rivet, told by Nicolas Delame)

by Pavel Polityuk

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