Ukrainian city of Mariupol searches for survivors amid rubble of theatre

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LVIV (REUTERS) – Rescue staff had been looking out for survivors within the rubble of a theatre within the besieged city of Mariupol on Thursday (March 17), after Ukraine mentioned a strong Russian air strike hit the constructing the place a whole bunch of folks had been sheltering from the conflict.

The port city is encircled by Russian forces and has seen fierce bombardment.

An announcement from the city council mentioned that about 30,000 residents had managed to flee to this point, however greater than 350,000 remained caught there.

“The heart is breaking from what Russia does to our people, our Mariupol, and our Donetsk region,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky mentioned in a late night time tackle on Wednesday, after referring to the theatre assault.

The city council mentioned a whole bunch of folks, largely ladies, kids and the aged, had been hiding within the theatre and a close-by swimming pool constructing as a result of of heavy shelling.

“Information about the victims is still being clarified,” it mentioned.

Earlier, Petro Andrushchenko, an adviser to the city’s mayor, mentioned some folks survived the blast and the bomb shelter had held. Emergency staff had been wanting for them within the rubble.

Russia has denied bombing the theatre.

Russian international ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova mentioned on Thursday that the allegation that Russia had bombed the theatre was a “lie”, and repeated Kremlin denials that Russian forces have focused civilians for the reason that Feb 24 invasion of Ukraine.

“Russia’s armed forces don’t bomb towns and cities,” she instructed in a briefing.

Satellite photos of the theatre taken earlier this week earlier than it was struck present a big construction with a crimson roof and the Russian phrase for “children” painted in giant white letters on the tarmac at the back and front.

Mariupol council mentioned the bodily harm to the city had been “enormous”. It estimated that round 80 per cent of the city’s properties had been destroyed, of which just about 30 per cent was past restore.

On the outskirts of city, Reuters reporters noticed folks leaving on foot and in vehicles, some pushing their belongings in procuring carts. In the background there have been badly burned and bombed condominium blocks, some nonetheless smouldering.

Yuriy Ryzhenkov, chief government officer of Ukraine’s largest steelmaker Metinvest, mentioned he was conserving intermittent contact with some of the corporate’s staff nonetheless in Mariupol.

“For the last two days, the bombing was literally happening every 30 minutes, so in reality people couldn’t even get out of the bomb shelters or their basements,” he instructed Reuters from someplace near Kyiv.

Mariopol was, he mentioned, “… our pride. Now we are seeing all of the work that we have done over the last eight years just being destroyed, completely destroyed, and that’s a very sad feeling.”

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