90% of Mariupol was damaged, including the theater where hundreds took refuge

90% of Mariupol was damaged, including the theater where hundreds took refuge

Ukrainian officials said Thursday that Russian airstrikes destroyed a theater in Mariupol that served as a temporary shelter for hundreds of people.

The theater was bombed late on Wednesday evening even though the word "children" was written in giant letters to protect it in front of the building. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said that the strikes left many civilians buried under the burning rubble. 

"After a terrible night of no knowledge, we finally received good news from Mariupol on the morning of the 22nd day of the war," former Donetsk regional official Sergei Taruta wrote on Facebook, according to CNN. ) was able to keep it. The rubble began to be removed. People are getting out alive."

A photo released by the Mariupol city council showed that an entire section of the vast 3-story theater collapsed after the strike. The residents took refuge in the basement of the building, seeking safety in central Russia, which lasted three weeks and stifled the siege of the strategic port city of Azov.

"Our hearts are broken because of what Russia is doing to our people in Mariupol," said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Vadim Denisenko, an advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs, said that 90% of the city of Mariupol was destroyed or damaged, and almost no buildings were left untouched. Most of the 400,000 residents are still in the city, he said.

"Evacuation and rescue efforts are complicated due to the continuous Russian bombardment," Denisenko said. "This is beyond a humanitarian catastrophe."

The latest developments

Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called on Europe to stop buying oil and gas from Russia: "You pay Putin $50 million every hour. Every hour. This money is used to kill us Ukrainians."

- The Ukrainian army claimed to have shot down 10 Russian planes and cruise missiles over the city.

Six Western countries - the US, UK, France, Ireland, Norway, and Albania - requested an open session on Ukraine before the United Nations voted on Friday on a sharply criticized Russian humanitarian resolution for failing to mention its invasion of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian and Russian delegations held talks again Wednesday by video. An official in Zelensky's office said the main topic under discussion was whether Russian forces would remain in the separatist regions of eastern Ukraine after the war and where the borders would be.

Putin says 'special operation' in Ukraine is going well, and the military's "special operation" in Ukraine was going according to plan and that all goals would be achieved.

He repeated several false claims about the invasion, including the conspiracy theory that Ukraine was developing weapons of mass destruction. He also said that the West, by imposing sanctions, is trying to "uninstall" Russia. He said that the Russian economy must adapt to the new realities.

"The West thinks we will back down," Putin said, according to a translation from Meduza, a Latvian-based media outlet. "The West does not understand Russia."

Ukrainian men prepare for battle while saying goodbye to families

Lviv, Ukraine - As millions of Ukrainian women and children move west to escape their country's widening Russian war, the largely unspoken front line - open and riddled with acute psychological trauma - continues to expand across Ukraine: the men they left behind.

Many of the women spoke to were emotionally overwhelmed to address leaving their husbands behind. Still, many Ukrainian men showed remarkable sobriety in talking about the pain of a family breakup that has no foreseeable end. They feel they must defend their country.

"My family understands that if we do not win this battle, future generations - and possibly the entire world - will not live a decent life," he said.

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