Russia Bombs Mariupol Theater, Where Hundreds of Civilians Searched Shelter, Ukraine Says

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Officials stated that hundreds of civilians living in Mariupol (the hardest-hit Ukrainian city) are now at risk of being buried in rubble following the Russian attack on a refugee shelter.

Officials from Ukraine said that a Wednesday attack targeted the Drama Theater in the city’s heart. This theater was home to more than 1,000 people who had fled the Russian attacks. Putin’s troops have been encircling the city for several days, creating a humanitarian catastrophe in which women, children, and the elderly are left without power, food, or water.

The Mariupol City Council described the attack as a “bomb on a building where hundreds of peaceful Mariupol residents were hiding.”

“We don’t know if there are any survivors,” said one witness on social media. “The bomb shelter is also covered with debris, there are both adults and children there.”

Images and witness accounts posted to social media and the messaging app Telegram channel MariupolNow showed smoldering rubble where the theater once stood, and described chaos in the besieged city, where sniper attacks and bombings have terrified those left.

Also attacked Wednesday was a civilian caravan of cars trying to flee the killing, Ukrainian officials said.

American President Joe Biden on Wednesday called Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal,” as invading troops escalated their attacks on Ukraine towns and cities, targeting homes, hospitals, and apartment complexes.

Biden made the remark while approving an additional $800 million in military aid for Ukraine, just hours after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy begged the U.S. Congress for greater help, saying, “We need you now.”

Meanwhile, Russia persisted in raining down fire over Ukraine.

“Preliminary data suggests that several hundred Mariupol residents were hiding at the Drama Theater. Their fate is not known, since the bomb shelter’s entrance is blocked by rubble.” said Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of a regional administration that includes Mariupol.

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry said Mariupol is the worst front of the invasion. Mass graves have been dug on the city’s outskirts and bodies of men, women and children lie abandoned on the streets.

Satellite images from Maxar Technologies showed the word “Children” was written in large Russian script outside the theater.