Not less than 300 people killed in Drama Theatre bombing in Mariupol

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Local officials in the besieged city of have said that at least 300 people are known to have been killed in the bombing on 16 March of the Drama Theatre.

A girl makes a heart shape with her hands as civilians are evacuated from Mariupol under the control of Russian military and pro-Russian separatists. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
A girl makes a heart shape with her hands as civilians are evacuated from under the control of Russian military and pro-Russian separatists. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

About 1,300 were believed to have been sheltering the building, with just 150 survivors having staggered out of the rubble immediately after the attack.

Sources said the bulk of those in the theatre had been hiding from the shelling under the stage and that rubble was blocking their exit.

There are no emergency services operating in and the intense fighting and shelling near the theatre has prevented rescue attempts. The theatre was bombed by plane despite the word children having been painted on the ground in white.

In a statement on Friday morning, a spokesman for the city council said they were able to share a new death toll from the tragedy.

The statement said: “Unfortunately, we start this day with bad news. From eyewitnesses, information appears that about 300 people died in the Drama Theatre of as a result of a bombardment by a Russian aircraft.Until the last, I do not want to believe in this horror. Until the last, I want to believe that everyone managed to escape. But the words of those who were inside the building at the time of this terrorist act say otherwise.

“The Drama Theatre in the heart of has always been the hallmark of the city. A place of meetings, dates, a point of reference. ‘Where are you? I’m on Drama.’ How many times have we heard or said this phrase: ‘on the Drama’.

“Now there is no more Drama. In its place, a new point of pain for residents appeared, ruins that became the last refuge for hundreds of innocent people.”

The statement goes on: “The Drama Theatre was cynically destroyed by the messengers of the ‘Russian world’. These fascists of the 21st century were not stopped either by the huge inscription CHILDREN, or by the statements of the people themselves that there were only peaceful people there – women, children, old people. The occupier knew where he was hitting.

“We can restore buildings, but we will never get friends, neighbours, relatives and loved ones back. Blessed memory of all the innocent victims of the insane war waged against by the aggressor country, the terrorist country Russia.”

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