Ukraine war latest: Fears up to 300 died in Mariupol theatre bombing

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This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies on Monday, March 21, 2022 shows the damaged Mariupol Drama theatre, top centre, and the area around it in Mariupol, Ukraine

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Credit: AP

Authorities in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol say they fear that up to 300 people were killed in the 16 March bombing of a theatre.

Citing the accounts of those who were there at the time of the blast, Mariupol City Council made the claim on Friday morning.

“Unfortunately, we start this day with bad news,” the council said on its Telegram channel. “From eyewitnesses, information appeared that about 300 people died in the drama theatre of Mariupol as a result of a bombardment by a Russian aircraft.

“Until the last, I do not want to believe in this horror. Until the last, I want to believe that everyone managed to escape.

“But the words of those who were inside the building at the time of this terrorist act say otherwise.”

What are the latest updates on the situation?

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy criticised European Union leaders, saying that sanctions and support for Ukraine came “a little late”.Civilians are starving in Mariupol, the city council said in a statement on Telegram, emphasising that “more and more people are left without any food supplies” in the port city that has been under siege since early March.Ukrainian forces are striking “high-value targets in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine” including a landing ship, the UK Ministry of Defence has said.The UK added on Friday that Ukraine has re-occupied towns up to 35 kilometres east of Kyiv.

    US President Joe Biden will travel to Poland on Friday close to the border with Ukraine as the country hosts more than two million refugees.

    Ukraine’s armed forces said in a statement that a large Russian landing ship was destroyed during an attack on the Berdyansk port. Large landing ships “Caesar Kunikov” and “Novocherkassk” were damaged, they added.

    Russia claimed on Friday that it had destroyed the Ukrainian army’s largest fuel reserve near Kyiv with cruise missiles the day before.

    Russia is running out of precision-guided munitions, a senior Pentagon official said, according to Reuters.

    Russians and Ukrainians exchanged prisoners on Thursday, according to the Ukrainian deputy prime minister and the Russian human rights delegate.

    At least 135 children have died in the war in Ukraine, according to Ukraine’s human rights commissioner Lyudmyla Denisova.

What is the latest that Western leaders saying about the conflict?

    US President Joe Biden said he wanted Russia out of the G20, and that a Russian chemical weapons attack in Ukraine would “trigger a response in kind”.UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the BBC he wasn’t sure that Vladimir Putin wanted peace and said the Russian president was trying to “Grozynyfy” Ukrainian cities, referring to the Chechen city of Grozny.German Chancellor Olaf Scholz says the world is united in its response to the Russian attack on Ukraine last month and said that sanctions against Russia were proving to be powerful.

How many refugees have fled Ukraine?

In the month since the war began, more than 3.6 million people have fled the war in Ukraine. Most of them have fled to neighbouring Poland, which has taken in over two million refugees.

Millions of Ukrainians are also internally displaced within the country as heavy fighting and shelling forces people to flee several cities.

More than half of Ukraine’s child population is displaced, according to the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, which called it a “grim milestone”.

Ukraine war – latest pictures

Felipe Dana/AP PhotoA man walks on the debris of a burning house, destroyed after a Russian attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 24, 2022.Felipe Dana/AP PhotoAndreea Alexandru/AP PhotoA refugee fleeing the war from neighbouring Ukraine with his family looks out of a tent after crossing the border by ferry at the Isaccea-Orlivka border crossing in Romania.Andreea Alexandru/AP PhotoAP Photo/Petros GiannakourisAnti-tank barricades are placed on a street as preparation for a possible Russian offensive, in Odesa, Ukraine, Thursday March 24, 2022.AP Photo/Petros GiannakourisAP Photo/Petros GiannakourisThe monument of the Duke of Richelieu, is covered with sandbags next to a Carrousel, in Odesa, Ukraine, Thursday March 24, 2022.AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris

Read more about the conflict

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    Ukraine war: Fears grow that Russia will target former Soviet state of Moldova next

Additional sources • AP, AFP

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