Report: 300 Dead In Russian Airstrike On Mariupol Theater
A view of destroyed theatre hall, which was used as a shelter by civilians, after Russian bombardment in Mariupol, Ukraine on March 18, 2022.
UKRAINIAN INTERIOR MINISTRY/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Approximately 300 people died in a Russian airstrike on a theater in Mariupol used as a bomb shelter, according to a report by the city’s government on Friday.

The bombing occurred on March 16 despite large lettering of the word “children” on the ground outside written in Russian that was visible from the air.

“Ludmyla Denisova, the Ukrainian Parliament’s human rights commissioner, said more than 1,300 people had been sheltering in the building,” according to the Associated Press.

Mariupol has been one of the most damaged cities in Ukraine during Russia’s invasion. In a virtual speech to Italian lawmakers on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky compared Mariupol to the Italian city of Genoa to make the issue more vivid for his audience.

“It had half a million inhabitants; it’s like Genoa, imagine Genoa completely destroyed. Imagine your Genoa from which people escape on foot or by car in search of a safer place. O Kyiv, as important to us as Rome is to you. It must live in peace, a continuous, eternal peace, as Rome and any city in our world must have. But in Kyiv every day sirens are heard and bombs and missiles fall, while in the surroundings there are Russian troops who torture, rape, destroy, take away our goods and our children. Things that last time in Europe were done by the Nazis. The Russian army has also managed to undermine the sea near our ports: this is also a danger for neighboring countries,” he said.

Zelensky argued Russia “will ruin more lives, more families, and the full-scale war will continue. Unfortunately, Russian missiles artillery is not stopping the bombing of our cities, all of the some of them have been almost destroyed completely,” adding that Mariupol is “like Armageddon.”

The airstrike is one of the events that led the the Pentagon to announce that it believes Russia’s military is guilty of war crimes in Ukraine.

“Today, I can announce that, based on information currently available, the U.S. government assesses that members of Russia’s forces have committed war crimes in Ukraine,” Secratary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Wednesday. He added, “Many of the sites Russia’s forces have hit have been clearly identifiable as in-use by civilians.  This includes the Mariupol maternity hospital, as the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights expressly noted in a March 11 report.  It also includes a strike that hit a Mariupol theater, clearly marked with the word ‘дети’ — Russian for ‘children’ — in huge letters visible from the sky.”

The Daily Wire reported on Monday that more than 10 million people, approximately one-fourth of Ukraine’s population, have been displaced within the country or left as refugees. The number includes about 3.3 million people who have left the nation since the start of the conflict.

“Among the responsibilities of those who wage war, everywhere in the world, is the suffering inflicted on civilians who are forced to flee their homes. The war in Ukraine is so devastating that 10 million have fled — either displaced inside the country, or as refugees abroad,” said Filippo Grandi, the U.N. Commissioner for Refugees.

On Thursday, the White House announced the U.S. would take in up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Daily Wire reported:

“While we expect many Ukrainians will choose to remain in Europe close to family and their homes in Ukraine, today, the United States is announcing plans to welcome up to 100,000 Ukrainians and others fleeing Russia’s aggression through the full range of legal pathways, including the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program,” the Biden administration announced.

“In particular, we are working to expand and develop new programs with a focus on welcoming Ukrainians who have family members in the United States. The United States and the European Union are also coordinating closely to ensure that these efforts, and other forms of humanitarian admission or transfers, are complementary and provide much-needed support to Ukraine’s neighbors,” the statement added.

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