Ukraine: in the Mariupol Theater, the word “children” written on the floor

WAR IN UKRANE – In the wake of the Russian bombing of a theater in Mariupol on Wednesday, March 16, the toll of the attack remains unknown. According to the city hall of the city under siege for several days, “more than a thousand people” [y] had taken refuge”, while satellite images show that the word “children” was written around the theater.

The photos, taken on Monday and released by US satellite imaging company Maxar, show that the word “children” written in Russian in large white letters on the floor in front and behind the theater was clearly visible from the air for their presence. The inscriptions were added to the floor around March 10, reports the New York Times

Russia, for its part, claimed not to have bombed the area and that the building had been destroyed by the Ukrainian nationalist Azov battalion. Moscow had already blamed this military unit during the bombing of the Mariupol maternity hospital last week, sparking international outcry.

It is not the first time that the Russians have been accused of deliberately attacking civilians since the start of the war in Ukraine, which began on February 24. At least 726 civilians, including about 50 children, were killed and nearly 1,200 injured, according to the UN census on March 15, which emphasizes that tolls are likely much lower than reality.

One hundred and eight children have been killed and 120 injured in the country since the Russian invasion, Ukraine’s prosecutor’s office said on Thursday, while the Mariupol municipality claims more than 2,200 residents have been killed in the city alone.

For Zelensky, Russia “deliberately” bombed the theater

Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov told the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday that more than 400 schools, 110 hospitals and 1,000 residential blocks across Ukraine have been destroyed in the three weeks since the launch of Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

For Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky, the Russian Air Force “deliberately” bombed the theater of Mariupol. “The world must finally admit that Russia has become a terrorist state,” he said on Wednesday.

For its part, the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) said it lacked information and could not rule out “the possibility of a Ukrainian military target in the theater area”, which was housing “at least 500 civilians”.

Olga, survivor of the Mariupol bombing, told franceinfo she couldn’t “say what happened”. “I don’t remember. I can only tell you that the strike was a little less powerful on our side of the building,” testified the mother of the family with a head injury, who was able to leave the building with her mother and her children. Her husband “remained under the rubble” “In the place where he was, everything was destroyed.”

This Thursday, Ukraine tried to take stock of the bombing. The prosecutor’s office said it is “impossible for now to determine the exact number of casualties as the bombing continues permanently”. According to him, “there is information” about “injured persons including children”.

Use of cluster bombs, says Human Rights Watch

Deputy Sergei Tarouta said on Facebook, without citing his sources, that people came out of the rubble alive because the shelter under the theater had held up.

People who managed to flee Mariupol in recent days to Zaporozhye, further west, said they were melting snow for drinking and cooking with what little food was available on braziers.

In addition, according to HRW, Russian troops used cluster bombs on March 7, 11 and 13 in the city of Mykolaiv, near Odessa. Nine people died on March 13, waiting in line at an ATM, according to the organization.

North of Kiev, in Cherniguiv, ten people died waiting to buy bread when Russian troops opened fire, Ukraine’s prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday. Moscow also denied and accused “Ukrainian nationalists”.

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