While survivors have been reported emerging from the wreckage of the Mariupol Drama Theater shelter bombed earlier this week in Ukraine, rescue attempts have been thwarted amid continued attacks and devastated supply lines threatening the chances of those still trapped.
Days ago, early details explained the strike that had leveled the building where more than 1,000 Ukrainians, mostly women and children, had taken refuge from the regular bombings brought on by the Russian invasion.
“A plane dropped a bomb on a building where hundreds of peaceful Mariupol residents were hiding,” a city official wrote. “It is still impossible to estimate the scale of this horrific and inhumane act.”
This footage, filmed ~5 days ago, shows Ukrainian civilians seeking refuge inside the Mariupol drama theatre. Every room is filled with people taking care of each other, sharing food, water, diapers.
Today Putin dropped a bomb atop the theatre and those seeking shelter inside. pic.twitter.com/hShOEsgXkU
— The Sparrow Project (@sparrowmedia) March 17, 2022
Early on, it was considered a miracle that there were survivors within the building. However, as the dust settles, their chances of escape before succumbing to the entombment continue to diminish. The Daily Mail reported that, while 130 survivors have managed to get clear of the rubble, it is believed more than 1,300 are still trapped within.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed to press on with the rescue attempts stating, “Hundreds of Mariupol residents are still under the debris. Despite the shelling, despite all the difficulties, we will continue the rescue work.”
Unfortunately, as Mariupol’s Mayor Vadym Boichenko has pointed out, “Tanks and machine gun battles continue. There’s no city centre left. There isn’t a small piece of land in the city that doesn’t have signs of war.”
This includes reports that Chechen special forces are moving from building to building, further pressing the attack in the city. Additionally, the means to extricate the survivors have been hampered by the bombings.
“Services that are supposed to help are demolished, rescue and utility services are physically destroyed. This means that all the survivors of the bombing will either die under the ruins of the theatre, or have already died,” Serhiy Taruta, a former governor MP stated on Facebook, according to Daily Mail.
Taruta expressed that those who have escaped thus far have either dug themselves out by hand or been assisted by those who’ve had little opportunity to help from the outside.
Ukrainian officials have called the bombing an act of genocide, especially considering the clear messaging outside the building made visible from the air to denote that children were inside the shelter. Russian officials continue to deny any such claim that they had targeted the theater.
Conditions throughout Mariupol had already diminished prior to the shelter’s destruction as Svitlana Zlenko detailed after getting out of the city Tuesday.
“There is no food, no medicine,” Zlenko explained, “if there is no snow with such urban fights, people will not be able to go out to get water, people have no water left. Pharmacies, grocery stores – everything is robbed or burned.”
She went on to describe the inability to bury the dead and the impossibility of understanding the true scope of the atrocities without being there, adding, “I pray that this will not happen again in any of the cities of Ukraine, or of the world.”
In response to some of the horrors brought on by the Russian invasion, protestors in the city of Lviv have left empty prams out in a public square to represent each of the children confirmed dead since the beginning of the conflict. By the last report, there were 109 prams on display.
Empty prams lined up in Lviv for children killed in war – each pram represents one childhttps://t.co/bTIZ1NXy3v pic.twitter.com/d3nps9ZSqV
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) March 19, 2022
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