Ukraine says Russia strikes Mariupol theatre sheltering residents, Moscow denies attack

A satellite image shows a closer view of the Mariupol Drama Theater before bombing, as the word “children” in Russian is written in large white letters on the pavement in front of and behind the building, in Mariupol, Ukraine, March 14, 2022. Picture taken March 14, 2022. Satellite image? 2022 Maxar Technologies / Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. DO NOT OBSCURE LOGO.

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LVIV, Ukraine, March 16 (Reuters) – Russian forces dropped a powerful bomb on a theater in the encircled Ukrainian port city of Mariupol where hundreds of civilians were sheltering on Wednesday, Ukraine’s foreign ministry said.

The ministry said many people were trapped in the Theater and Accused Russia of committing a war crime. It said the number of Casualties was not yet known. Reuters could not independently verify the information.

Russia denies targeting civilians. In Moscow, the defense ministry said its forces had not struck the building and instead accused the Azov Battalion, a far-right Ukrainian militia, of blowing it up, RIA news agency said.

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It did not give evidence to back up the claim. Russia had previously accused the Battalion of preventing civilians from leaving the city, which has come under heavy bombardment.

Maxar Technologies, a private US company, distributed satellite imagery that it was collected on March 14 and showed the word “children” in a large Russian script painted on the ground outside the red-roofed Mariupol Drama Theater.

Maxar (MAXR.N) said it would distribute new images of the Theater as soon as it has them.

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Reporting by Natalia Zinets, David Ljunggren and Rami Ayyub; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Rosalba O’Brien

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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