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Russia-Ukraine War: Hundreds of people feared trapped in a Ukraine theater of war have been hit by an airstrike

Kyiv, Ukraine — Ukrainian authorities were scrambling to clarify the fate of hundreds of civilians taking shelter in a theater destroyed by a Russian airstrike in the besieged city of Mariupol, when officials said Russian artillery hit more civilian buildings on Thursday another city destroyed at the front.

Some hope came when an official said some people managed to survive the strike at the Mariupol Theater.

A photo released by the Mariupol City Council showed that an entire section of the large, three-story theater had collapsed after Wednesday night’s strike. Several hundred people had taken refuge in the building’s basement to shelter themselves amid Russia’s three-week, strangling siege of the strategic port city on the Sea of ​​Azov.

As of Monday at least, the sidewalk in front of and behind the once elegant theater was marked with giant white letters reading “CHILDREN” in Russian, according to images provided by space company Maxar.

Debris buried the entrance to the shelter inside the theater and the number of victims is unclear, Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the Donetsk regional administration, told Telegram. Ukrainian MP Sergiy Taruta, a former governor of the Donetsk region where Mariupol is located, later said on Facebook that some people managed to escape alive from the destroyed building. He did not give any further details.

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Kyrylenko said Russian airstrikes also hit a municipal swimming pool complex in Mariupol, where civilians, including women and children, had taken refuge. “Now there are pregnant women and women with children lying under the rubble,” he wrote, but thought the number of victims was initially unknown.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for more aid to his country in a video address to German lawmakers on Thursday, saying thousands of people have been killed in the war, which began almost a month ago, including 108 children.

FULL SPEECH: Ukrainian President Zelenskyy Tells US Congress ‘We Need You Now’

He also referred to the dire situation in Mariupol. “Everything is a target for them,” he said, including “a theater where hundreds of people found shelter that was leveled yesterday.”

Because of a technical problem caused by “an attack in the immediate vicinity” of where Selenskyj was speaking, the speech began late, said Bundestag Vice President Katrin Göring-Eckardt.

Zelenskyy’s speech to the Bundestag came a day after he delivered a video speech to the US Congress, which received multiple ovations as he asked for more help.

The Russian Defense Ministry on Wednesday denied bombing the theater or any other location in Mariupol.

Zelenskyi’s office said Russia conducted further airstrikes on Mariupol early Thursday morning and artillery and airstrikes across the country overnight, including in the capital Kyiv’s Kalynivka and Brovary suburbs. There was no immediate information about casualties.

In Kyiv, where residents are huddled in homes and temporary shelters, a fire broke out in an apartment building early Thursday and was hit by the remains of a fired Russian missile, killing one person and injuring at least three others, according to emergency services. Firefighters evacuated 30 people from the top floors of the 16-story building and extinguished the fire within an hour.

MORE: Pregnant woman photographed on stretcher, baby dies after bomb attack on Russian maternity hospital [WARNING, GRAPHIC]

Russian artillery on Thursday destroyed a school and community center in Merefa, a town near the northeastern city of Kharkiv, according to Merefa Mayor Veniamin Sitov. There were no known civilian casualties. The Kharkiv region has been heavily bombed as stalled Russian forces attempt to advance into the area.

Six nations have called for a UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine for Thursday afternoon, ahead of an expected vote on Friday on a Russian resolution calling for the protection of Ukrainian civilians “in vulnerable situations” without mentioning Moscow’s responsibility for the war.

“Russia is committing war crimes and targeting civilians,” the British UN mission tweeted, announcing the call for the meeting, which was joined by the US, France and others. “Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine is a threat to all of us.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin went on television on Wednesday to condemn Russians who do not support him.

The Russians “will always be able to tell true patriots from scum and traitors and just spit them out like a gnat that accidentally got in their mouths,” he said. “I am convinced that such a natural and necessary self-cleansing of society will only strengthen our country.”

He said the West was using a “fifth column” of traitorous Russians to create civil unrest.

“And there is only one goal, I’ve already talked about that – the destruction of Russia,” he said.

The speech appeared to be a warning that his authoritarian rule, which had already intensified since the February 24 invasion began, the closure of Russian news outlets and the arrests of protesters, could become even more repressive.

In a sign of this, Russian law enforcement agencies announced the first known criminal cases under a new law that provides 15-year prison terms for publishing allegedly “false information” about the Ukraine war. Among the accused was Veronika Belotserkovskaya, a Russian-language cookbook author and blogger living abroad.

But it also came amid signs the talks were finally making headway.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after Tuesday’s meeting that a neutral military status for Ukraine was “seriously discussed” by both sides, while Zelenskyy said Russia’s demands for an end to the war were becoming “more realistic”.

Wednesday’s talks, held via video, appeared to delve deeper into technical details.

Zelenskyi adviser Mikhailo Podolyak said Ukraine is demanding a ceasefire from several countries, the withdrawal of Russian troops and security guarantees for Ukraine.

“This can only be done through direct dialogue” between Zelenskyy and Putin, he tweeted.

An official in Zelenskyi’s office told The Associated Press that the main topic of discussion was whether Russian troops would remain in separatist areas of eastern Ukraine after the war and where the borders would be.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive talks, said Ukraine insists on involving one or more Western nuclear powers in the negotiations and on a legally binding document with security guarantees for Ukraine. In exchange, the official said, Ukraine is ready to negotiate neutral status.

Russia has called for a NATO commitment never to accept Ukraine into the alliance or to station forces there.

Zelenskyy went before the US Congress via video earlier Wednesday, citing Pearl Harbor and 9/11 and asking America for more guns and tougher sanctions against Russia, saying, “We need you now.”

President Joe Biden announced the US would provide Ukraine with an additional $800 million in military aid. He also called Putin a “war criminal,” in his harshest condemnation since the invasion began.

FULL SPEECH: Biden details US military aid to Ukraine following Zelenskyy’s appeal to Congress

Although Moscow’s advance on the Ukrainian capital seemed largely stalled, Putin previously said the operation was “successful and in strict accordance with pre-approved plans.” He also condemned Western sanctions against Moscow, accusing the West of trying to “squeeze us, put pressure on us, turn us into a weak, dependent country.”

WATCH: What you should know about US military aid to Ukraine after Biden and Zelenskyy speeches

According to UN estimates, the fighting has caused more than three million people to flee Ukraine. The death toll remains unknown, although Ukraine said thousands of civilians died.

Nowhere has it suffered more than in the ringed city of Mariupol, where more than 2,300 people have been killed by rocket attacks and shelling, according to local officials. The southern seaport of 430,000 people was attacked for most of the three-week war in a siege that left people fighting for food, water, warmth and medicine.

dr Valeriy Drengar used his mobile phone’s flashlight to illuminate a hospital basement and pulled back a blanket to reveal the body of a 22-day-old infant. Other wrapped bodies also appeared to be children.

“These are the people we couldn’t save,” Drengar said.

PHOTOS: Refugees from Ukraine leave their homes behind, but not their pets

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Associated Press writer Yuras Karmanau of Lviv, Ukraine, and other AP journalists around the world contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

https://abc13.com/russia-ukraine-war-vladimir-putin-latest-news-on-and/11658332/ Russia-Ukraine War: Hundreds of people feared trapped in a Ukraine theater of war have been hit by an airstrike

Dais Johnston

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