Mar 18, 2022 - World

Zelensky says hundreds still trapped under theater bombed by Russia

A satellite image captured on March 14 of the Donetsk Regional Drama Theatre in Mariupol before it was destroyed on Thursday.
A satellite image captured on March 14 of the Donetsk Regional Drama Theatre in Mariupol before it was destroyed on Thursday. Satellite image: 2022 Maxar Technologies

Hundreds of people are still trapped underneath a theater in Mariupol, Ukraine, that was being used as a civilian shelter before it was bombed by Russian forces earlier this week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a televised address on Friday.

The latest: Lyudmyla Denisova, Ukraine's top human rights official, said 130 people had been rescued from the destroyed building as of Friday. That would represent only a small fraction of the over 1,000 people, including children, that city officials said were inside shelters beneath the theater at the time of the strike.

  • The officials also said earlier this week that rescue operations have been complicated by almost-constant attacks on the city from Russian forces.

What they're saying: "There are still hundreds of Mariupol residents under the rubble. Despite the shelling, despite all the difficulties, we will continue the rescue work," Zelensky said during the address, according to a translation from Reuters.

Days before the bombing, Maxar Technologies had captured the Donetsk Regional Drama Theatre in the port city of Mariupol in a satellite image, which showed the word "children" written in Russian in large white letters in front of and behind the theater.

  • The distinct red-roofed theatre is also relatively far away from other buildings in a park.

The big picture: Russian forces have besieged and indiscriminately bombed civilian buildings — including a children's hospital — in Mariupol for several days, leading to shortages of food, water and medicine.

  • The International Committee of the Red Cross said Sunday that the city, which was once home to around 430,000 people, faces a "worst-case scenario" unless humanitarian corridors can be opened.

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