Speed Reads

war in Ukraine

Russia bombs Ukrainian theater where sheltering civilians had written 'children' in massive letters

Russian forces bombed a theater in Mariupol, Ukraine where hundreds of civilians were sheltering, the city's deputy mayor told BBC News on Wednesday.

Around 1,000 to 2,000 people were in the building, the official said, but the number of casualties is still unknown. Among the Ukrainians sheltered in the Mariupol Drama Theater were children, words written outside the building seemed to suggest. BuzzFeed News' Christopher Miller shared images of the word "children" written in Russian, seemingly to be visible from the sky.

After Russia began its attack on Ukraine, Mariupol quickly became one of the nation's most besieged cities. "The city has been under constant Russian shelling since the start of the war," writes BBC, "and entire neighbourhoods have been turned into wasteland." The Associated Press also published a harrowing report of what Mariupol's children, and citizens in general, have suffered in recent weeks. "Each airstrike and shell that relentlessly pounds Mariupol — about one a minute at times — drives home the curse of a geography that has put the city squarely in the path of Russia's domination of Ukraine," writes AP.

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry condemned the airstrike on the Mariupol theater and Russia's "continue[d] targeting [of] civilian infrastructure ... in breach of the norms of international law, particularly of humanitarian law."

"By delivering a purposeful bomb attack to the place of mass gathering of civilians, Russia has committed another war crime," the ministry continued. "Putin's regime has long since crossed the line of humanity."