Ukraine initially claimed Russian bombs had killed more than 1,000 people, but local officials now say otherwise
Ukraine has accused Russia of destroying the Mariupol Drama Theatre, which was sheltering more than 1,000 civilians. Photo dated March 17, 2022 © AFP / handout / TELEGRAM / pavlokyrylenko_donoda
More than 200 civilians have been rescued unharmed from the bombed Mariupol Drama Theater, and one injured woman has been taken to hospital, the deputy mayor of the city told reporters on Friday. Initial claims from Kiev estimated over 1,000 people may have been killed in what they said was a Russian airstrike.
Ukrainian media announced on Wednesday that the Drama Theater – located on the main square of the city – had been struck by the Russian air force while civilians were sheltering inside. By Thursday morning, however, reports switched to saying that those civilians had survived, with a journalist with the Kyiv Independent calling it a “miracle.”
On Friday, Deputy Mayor Sergey Orlov told Human Rights Watch that more than 200 people have so far been rescued from the rubble unharmed, but one woman had been taken to hospital with injuries. Earlier in the day, Ukraine’s human rights commissioner, Lyudmila Denisova, told reporters that some 1,300 civilians had been trapped inside.
Meanwhile, Mayor Vadim Boychenko told the BBC that the fighting had reached the city center, where the theater is located.