According to the Mariupol City Council, the famous theater was “purposefully and cynically destroyed.” (RELATED: Russia Destroys Maternity Ward and Children’s Hospital in Besieged Ukrainian City)
With the city center under constant artillery fire, the theater had become a sanctuary for many civilians.
The number of casualties is unknown.
The BBC reports:
More now from the besieged port city of Mariupol – the city’s deputy mayor has told the BBC that Russian forces have bombed a theatre where hundreds of civilians were sheltering.
Serhiy Orlov said between 1,000 and 1,200 people were in the building. The number of casualties was still unknown, he said. The BBC could not independently verify the information.
Mariupol has been encircled by Russian forces, and an estimated 300,000 are trapped with no running water, electricity or gas. Food and medical supplies are running low, and Russia has not allowed the delivery of humanitarian aid.
For Mariupol’s 440,000 citizens, the fighting is unprecedented, save for the very few who were alive during the Second World War. (RELATED: Russia War Brief – US Air Force Won’t Give Tank Killer Jets to Ukraine)
The Red Cross describes the situation as “apocalyptic” with residents allegedly risking death to venture outside to drink from puddles in the streets.
Russian shelling makes collecting the dead difficult. Recent reports suggest over 2,500 civilians have died in the city. Some estimates go significantly higher.