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

1 minute read

A satellite image shows a closer view of Mariupol Drama Theatre before bombing, as a 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

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

LVIV, Ukraine, March 16 (Reuters) - Russian forces dropped a powerful bomb on a theatre 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 theatre 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 defence 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.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

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 U.S. company, distributed satellite imagery that it said was collected on March 14 and showed the word "children" in large Russian script painted on the ground outside the red-roofed Mariupol Drama Theatre.

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

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com
Reporting by Natalia Zinets, David Ljunggren and Rami Ayyub; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Rosalba O'Brien

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.