Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Ukrainians flee Mariupol theatre bombing after Russia blast ‘killed 300’ in new footage

Ukraine claims the attack was a war crime

Ella Glover
Saturday 26 March 2022 11:53 GMT
Mariupol theatre: Video purportedly shows aftermath of March 16th bombing

New footage shows frightened civilians desperately escaping the Mariupol theatre after it was struck by Russian missiles earlier this month leading to the death of an estimated 300 people.

As many as 1,000 people were sheltering in the Donetsk Regional Theatre of Drama in Mariupol, using the building as an air raid shelter. The theatre was struck on 16 March.

Ukrainian authorities said on Friday that 300 people had died in the bombing of the theatre. Officials posted on Telegram: “Unfortunately, we start this day with bad news. 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.”

A Mariupol City Council spokesperson said: “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.”

The attack reduced the building to rubble and was classified as a war crime by Ukraine.

A never-before-seen video of the aftermath attack has emerged, showing civilians evacuating the theatre surrounded by rubble.

Women, small children and injured civilians can be seen fleeing the building, which had been targeted despite a large inscription saying ‘children’ being clearly visible on the pavement outside.

Hundreds fled the attack (Twitter/IndependentTV)
The building was reduced to rubble (Twitter/IndependentTV)

The 300 who are presumed dead were reportedly in a bomb shelter underneath the building, which got buried in the rubble following the attack, Petr Andryuschenko, advisor to deputy mayor of Mariupol, told the BBC.

Mariupol has been under siege since the early days of the crisis and has been under continuous bombardment from Russian artillery for more than two weeks.

There were also claims by the UN on Friday of increasing evidence that mass graves have been dug in the city to bury those killed under Russian bombardment.

Women and small children could be seen evacuating the building (Twitter/IndependentTV)

Those who have stayed alive have done despite running out of food, water and power in many cases. One local said they were reduced to eating a stray dog for food.

Rescue efforts to save those in the theatre had been hindered by the complete breakdown of social services in the city and fears of future Russian attacks, according to Serhiy Taruta, the former head of the Donetsk region.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in