Mar 12, 2022 - World

Russian forces bomb a mosque in Mariupol as attacks continue in Kyiv

A firefighter enters a house to extinguish a fire after shelling on the 17th day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Kyiv on March 12, 2022.

A firefighter enters a house to extinguish a fire after shelling in Kyiv on March 12. Photo: Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images

Russian forces shelled a mosque in the Ukrainian port city of Mariupol on Saturday that was sheltering more than 80 people, including children, the Ukrainian government said, AP reports.

Driving the news: There were no immediate reports of casualties, per AP.

  • The Ukrainian Embassy in Turkey said 86 Turkish nationals, including 34 children, were among those who sought safety in the mosque of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and his wife, Roksolana.
  • Artillery barrages around Kyiv on Saturday also sent residents seeking shelter, per AP.
  • Russian ground forces that have predominately been north of Kyiv have edged to within 25 kilometers of the city center, according to Britain's Defense Ministry.
  • "Elements of the large Russian column north of Kyiv have dispersed. This is likely to support a Russian attempt to encircle the city," the ministry said.

The big picture: Mariupol, with a population of roughly 430,000, has been under "continuous Russian shelling" and officials have warned of an escalating humanitarian crisis that's left residents with no heat or communication.

  • As of Friday, more than 1,500 people have died in Mariupol during 12 days of attack, according to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine.
  • The ongoing shelling led crews to stop digging trenches for mass graves, so the "dead aren’t even being buried," Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said, per AP.
  • Russian forces bombed a children's hospital and maternity ward in Mariupol this week, which Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky called a "war crime" and "proof that the genocide of Ukrainians is taking place."

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