Survivors 'emerging alive' after Russian bomb hits theatre used as shelter in Mariupol

16 March 2022, 17:18 | Updated: 17 March 2022, 10:36

Russian bombs have hit a theatre where 1,200 civilians were taking shelter
Russian bombs have hit a theatre where 1,200 civilians were taking shelter. Picture: @Mariupolnow/Instagram

By Megan Hinton

Survivors have emerged from the rubble after Russian troops launched an attack on a theatre in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol where as many as 1,200 civilians including, women, children and the elderly, were taking refuge.

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There are a number of survivors following yesterday's attack on a theatre in Mariupol, authorities in Ukraine said.

The bomb shelter inside the theatre managed to withstand the strike, an official in the local mayor's office said.

However, the number of victims is still unknown. 

Mariupol's city council said Russian forces had "purposefully and cynically" destroyed the Drama Theatre in the heart of Mariupol.

Adding: "The plane dropped a bomb on a building where hundreds of peaceful Mariupol residents were hiding.

"It is still impossible to estimate the scale of this horrific and inhumane act, because the city continues to shell residential areas.

"It is known that after the bombing, the central part of the Drama Theatre was destroyed, and the entrance to the bomb shelter in the building was destroyed."

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The number of casualties is still unknown, but Mariupol's deputy mayor Serhiy Orlov, told the BBC that between 1,000 and 1,200 civilians were taking shelter in the theatre.

"It is impossible to find words that could describe the level of cruelty and cynicism with which the Russian occupiers are destroying the civilian population of the Ukrainian city by the sea.

"Women, children, and the elderly remain in the enemy's sights. These are completely unarmed peaceful people," the council said.

Whilst Ukrainian MP Sergiy Taruta said "fierce fighting" and constant shelling has prevented rescue teams rescuing people from the rubble adding "we don't know if there are any survivors".

This comes hours after Putin's menacing warning that the West's "economic blitzkrieg" against Moscow had failed and that Western countries have "geopolitical aims which don't include a strong independent Russia".

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Speaking in a televised meeting from Moscow, the Russian President said that the West was attempting to "cancel" Russia with economic sanctions - but that the measures had failed and Russia wasn’t about to run out of cash for its invasion.

The bloody conflict has entered it's fourth week with the US claiming today, ten Ukrainians were shot and killed by Russian forces while waiting in line for bread in Chernihiv.

The Russian shelling unfolded shortly after 10am on Wednesday as troops continue to press on Ukraine's capital Kyiv.

The US Embassy in Kyiv said: "Today, Russian forces shot and killed 10 people standing in line for bread in Chernihiv.

"Such horrific attacks must stop. We are considering all available options to ensure accountability for any atrocity crimes in Ukraine."

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Chernihiv, in the north of the country, is one of the cities Russian troops had to pass on their way to Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital.

The crisis facing people in the area was laid out by the governor of the Chernihiv region, who said there was no electricity in the city or outlying towns.

However, Viacheslav Chaus said Ukrainian forces were inflicting “powerful blows on the Russian enemy every hour” and the UK Ministry of Defence said Putin's troops are "struggling with the terrain".

The MoD says Russia's advance has been stymied by a lack of manoeuvrability, which has been "adeptly exploited" by Ukrainian forces.