ALL NEWS

Survivors emerge from rubble of Mariupol theater bombed by Russia

Mar 18, 2022, 12:09 PM
Mariupol Theater...
New satellite images from Maxar Technologies show that on Monday, the word "children" was spelled out in Russian in two areas outside the theater that was bombed on Wednesday. Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies
Originally Published: 17 MAR 22 06:16 ET
Updated: 17 MAR 22 19:31 ET

(CNN) — People sheltering in a theater in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol are emerging from the building after it was bombed, the former head of the Donetsk region said Thursday.

Hundreds of people were thought to have taken shelter in the theater amid the ongoing Russian siege of Mariupol. Russian forces have bombarded the coastal city for weeks, trapping hundreds of thousands of people. Ukrainian officials estimates 2,500 civilians have died in the fighting.

“After an awful night of not knowing, we finally have good news from Mariupol on the morning of the 22nd day of the war. The bomb shelter [of the theatre] was able to hold. The rubble is beginning to be cleared. People are coming out alive,” the former Donetsk region head Sergiy Taruta wrote in a Facebook post Thursday.

He later told Ukrainian television that rescue efforts were being hindered by the complete breakdown of social services in the city and the dangers of further Russian attacks.

It was not yet clear whether all those who sheltered in the theater had survived. Taruta said on Thursday that 1,300 people were in the building when it was bombed and 130 have so far been rescued.

“People are doing everything themselves. My friends went to help, but due to constant shelling it was not safe. People are clearing away the rubble themselves. There is no rescue operation, because all the services that are supposed to rescue people, to treat them, to bury them, these services no longer exist,” Taruta told Ukrainian television.

Liudmyla Denisova, the Ukrainian Parliament’s commissioner for Human Rights, said earlier on Thursday that adults and children were coming out alive but the full extent of the impact remained unclear.

“In Mariupol, the release of civilians from the rubble of the drama theater has begun. The building withstood the impact of a high-powered air bomb and protected the lives of people hiding in the bomb shelter. Work is underway to unlock the basement,” Denisova said in a statement on Telegram.

However, she said there was “currently no information about the dead or wounded under the rubble of the theater,” and called the attack “an act of genocide and a terrible crime against humanity as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.”

After the bombing on Wednesday, Mariupol City Council shared an image of the building and said Russian forces had “purposefully and cynically destroyed the Drama Theater in the heart of Mariupol.”

The word “children” was spelled out on two sides of the theater before it was bombed, according to satellite images.

Ukraine’s Minister of Defense Oleskii Reznikov said on Thursday that the Russian who carried out the bombing was a “monster,” and stressed the presence of children in the building.

“You can see from the maps, from the drones that around this theater, big letters of ‘children’ were written so that the pilot of the plane which was throwing the bombs could see ‘children’, and still, in spite of that, this monster has bombed the theater,” Reznikov told the European Parliament via video link.

Russia has denied its forces hit the building and instead accused “militants of the nationalist ‘Azov’ battalion” of blowing up the theater. The Azov battalion started as a volunteer militia linked to far-right ideologies before it was incorporated into a Ukrainian National Guard unit in 2014.

Maxim Kach, a Mariupol city government official, said the building was for civilians, with only women and young children hiding within it and not military personnel, while an adviser to the government said it was the largest shelter in Mariupol.

The onslaught on the city has led to a desperate humanitarian crisis. More than 350,000 residents continue to hide in shelters and basements to escape the “continuous shelling by Russian occupation forces,” with an average of 50 to 100 air strikes hitting the city each day causing enormous destruction, its city council said Thursday on Telegram.

It estimates about “80% of the city’s housing structures are destroyed and 30% irreparably lost.”

Residents who escaped the city told CNN conditions were “unbearable” and “hell,” with constant shelling, reports of people being held captive in a hospital and residents left without water, electricity or heat.

Earlier this week a pregnant woman and her newborn baby died after a maternity hospital in Mariupol was bombed. CNN earlier reported that at least three people — including a child — died following the attack last week.

Previous attempts to evacuate Mariupol have failed, but a planned evacuation went ahead on Thursday, with 800 private cars with more than 2,000 people making it through Russian-occupied territory to the city of Zaporizhzhia by mid-evening, according to Iryna Vereshchuk, the Ukrainian Minister of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories.

A total of 30,000 people have managed to leave the besieged city, the city’s council said Thursday.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Tooele City announced its firework restrictions Sunday evening. Photo Credit: Tooele City's Faceboo...
Devin Oldroyd

Tooele City releases fireworks restrictions map

Tooele City announced its firework restrictions Sunday evening.
21 hours ago
A Navy soldier stands guard as authorities wait for the arrival of people who were evacuated from t...
Associated Press

Tropical Storm Colin brings rain to Carolinas, weakens

Tropical Storm Colin formed along the coast on Saturday. Conditions are expected to improve by Monday's Fourth of July celebrations.
21 hours ago
Photo credit: UDOT...
Devin Oldroyd

Semi-truck rolls on I-80 at U.S.-40, Silver Creek Junction

What caused the semi-truck to roll is still under investigation at this time. All lanes in the area have been cleared and are operational.
21 hours ago
People leave Field's shopping centre, after Danish police said they received reports of shooting, i...
Kim Norgaard, Pierre Meilhan and Jorge Engels, CNN

Several people killed in Copenhagen mall shooting, police say

shooting at a mall in Copenhagen has left several people dead, local police said Sunday.
21 hours ago
Travelers wait in for a TSA security check at the Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles,...
DAVID KOENIG ASSOCIATED PRESS

Pre-pandemic sized crowds descend on US airports for holiday

TSA is reporting crowds of pre-pandemic size are traveling this Independence Day.
3 days ago
The National Weather Service of Salt Lake City says there is a red flag warning in effect for Weste...
Lindsay Aerts

Fourth of July weekend weather conditions ripe for fires

The National Weather Service of Salt Lake City says there is a red flag warning in effect for Western Utah. It warns that many fires are human caused.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Survivors emerge from rubble of Mariupol theater bombed by Russia