Hundreds trapped in Mariupol theatre hit by Russian shelling, say Ukrainian authorities – National

Ukrainians Authorities have struggled to determine the fate of hundreds of civilians who were sheltering in a theater that was vandalized by a Russian Air strikes on the besieged city of Mariupol as officials said on Thursday Russian artillery destroyed more civilian buildings in another front-line city.

Some hope emerges, as an official says some people have managed to survive Mariupol theater strike.

A photo released by Mariupol city council shows an entire section of the grand, three-story theater that collapsed following the strike on Wednesday night. Hundreds of people took shelter in the building’s basement, seeking safety amid a three-week siege of the strategic port city of the Sea of ​​Azov by Russia.

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At least as recently as Monday, the sidewalks in front and behind the once elegant theater were marked with giant white letters spelling “CHILDREN” in Russian, according to images released by the dance technology company. Maxar column announced.

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Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk regional government, said on Telegram that the rubble had buried the entrance to the bunker inside the theater. Ukraine’s member of parliament Sergiy Taruta, the former governor of the Donetsk region where Mariupol is located, later said on Facebook that some people had managed to escape alive from the destroyed building. He did not provide any further details.

Kyrylenko said Russian air strikes also hit a municipal swimming pool complex in Mariupol where civilians, including women and children, were taking shelter. “Now there are pregnant women and women with children under the rubble there,” he wrote, noting that the number of casualties was not immediately known.

Click to play video: 'Russian attacks on civilians continue as President of Ukraine addresses US Congress'

Russian attacks on civilians continue as President of Ukraine addresses US Congress

Russian attacks on civilians continue as President of Ukraine addresses US Congress

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy call for more help for his country in a video address to German lawmakers on Thursday, saying thousands of people have been killed in the fighting that began nearly a month ago, including 108 children.

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He also mentioned the dire situation in Mariupol. “Everything was on their radar,” he said, including “a theater where hundreds of people found shelter was flattened yesterday.”

Bundestag deputy spokeswoman Katrin Goering-Eckardt said the address was delayed because of a technical problem caused by “an attack in the vicinity” where Zelenskyy was speaking.

Zelenskyy’s address to the Bundestag was given the day after he read a speech via video to the US Congress, drew a standing ovation when he appealed for more help.

The Russian Defense Ministry denied bombing the theater or any other place in Mariupol on Wednesday.

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Zelenskyy’s office said Russia carried out further air strikes on Mariupol early Thursday morning, as well as airstrikes and artillery strikes across the country during the night, including in the suburbs of Kalynivka and Brovary of the capital city Kyiv. There was no immediate information on casualties.

In Kyiv, where residents are gathering in homes and shelters, a fire broke out in an apartment building caused by the remains of a Russian rocket that was shot down early Thursday, killing one person and At least three others were injured, according to emergency services. Firefighters evacuated 30 people from the top floors of the 16-story building and extinguished the blaze within an hour.

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On Thursday, Russian artillery destroyed a school and a community center in Merefa, a city near the northeastern city of Kharkiv, Merefa mayor Veniamin Sitov said. There are no known civilian casualties. The Kharkiv area came under heavy shelling as Russian forces trying to enter the area stalled.

Six countries have called for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Ukraine on Thursday afternoon, ahead of a vote scheduled for Friday on a Russian resolution demanding the protection of Ukrainian civilians “in the vulnerable situation”, but made no mention of Moscow’s responsibility for the war.

“Russia is committing war crimes and targeting civilians,” the UK’s United Nations Mission tweeted, announcing the call for a meeting attended by the US, France and other countries. “Russia’s illegal war into Ukraine is a threat to all of us.”

Click to play video: 'Video shows moments after Russian military allegedly shot civilians waiting in line to buy food in Chernihiv'

The video shows the moment after the Russian military allegedly shot civilians waiting in line to buy food in Chernihiv

The video shows the moment after the Russian military allegedly shot civilians waiting in line to buy food in Chernihiv

Russian President Vladimir Putin went on television on Wednesday to criticize Russians who did not support him.

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The Russians “will always be able to distinguish true patriots from scum and traitors and will simply spit on them like a gnat accidentally flew into their mouths,” he said. “I believe that such a natural and necessary social self-purification will only strengthen our country.”

He said that the West is using the “fifth column” of Russian traitors to cause civil unrest.

“And there is only one goal, I spoke of – the destruction of Russia,” he said.

The speech appeared to be a warning that his authoritarian rule, which has become tighter since the invasion began on February 24, shut down Russian news outlets. and arresting protesters, possibly with further repression.

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In a sign of that, Russian law enforcement has announced the first known criminal cases under a new law that allows for 15 years in prison for posting what it sees as “false information” about Ukraine war. Among those charged is Veronika Belotserkovskaya, a Russian cookbook author and blogger living abroad.

But it also comes amid signs that talks are finally making progress.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after Tuesday’s meeting that the neutral military status of Ukraine was being “seriously discussed” by the two sides, while Zelenskyy said Russia’s demand for an end to the war is becoming “more realistic”.

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Wednesday’s talks, held by video, appeared to go deeper into technicalities.

Zelenskyy adviser Mikhailo Podolyak said Ukraine demanded a ceasefire, withdrawal of Russian troops and security guarantees for Ukraine from a number of countries.

“This is only possible through direct dialogue” between Zelenskyy and Putin, he tweeted.

An official in Zelenskyy’s office told the AP news agency that the main topic of discussion was whether Russian troops would stay in the breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine after the war and where the border would be.

Click to play video: 'A Ukrainian city mayor flees for safety during a Global News Zoom call'

A city mayor in Ukraine flees for safety during a Global News Zoom call

A city mayor in Ukraine flees for safety during a Global News Zoom call

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive negotiations, said Ukraine was insisting on including one or more Western nuclear powers in the talks and on a legally binding document with security guarantees. for Ukraine. In exchange, the official said, Ukraine is ready to discuss neutrality.

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Russia has asked NATO to commit to never admitting Ukraine to the alliance or to forces stationed there.

Earlier, on Wednesday, Zelenskyy appeared before the US Congress by video and cited Pearl Harbor and 9/11, begging the US to provide more weapons and tougher sanctions against Russia, “We need you now,” said.

President Joe Biden announced that the United States is sending an additional $800 million in military aid to Ukraine. He also called Putin a “War criminal” in its harshest condemnation since the invasion began.

Although Moscow’s ground advance into the Ukrainian capital appears to have largely stalled, Putin previously said the operation had taken place “successfully, in accordance with pre-approved plans.” He also criticized Western sanctions against Moscow, accusing the West of trying to “squeeze us, put pressure on us, turn us into a weak, dependent nation.”

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According to UN estimates, the fighting has displaced more than 3 million people from Ukraine. The death toll is unknown, although Ukraine says thousands of civilians have been killed.

Nowhere has suffered more damage than the besieged city of Mariupol, where local officials say rocket and artillery attacks have killed more than 2,300 people. The southern seaport of 430,000 people was attacked during most of the three-week war in a siege that left residents struggling for food, water, heat and medicine.

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Using the flashlight on his cell phone to illuminate the hospital basement, Dr Valeriy Drengar pulled back a blanket to reveal the body of a 22-day-old infant. The other wrapped bodies also appear to be children.

“These are the people we cannot save,” Drengar said.

© 2022 Canadian Press

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