KYIV: Ukrainian officials in the strategic port city of Mariupol said Friday they feared 300 people could have died in last week's Russian strike on a theatre where hundreds were sheltering.
"From eyewitnesses, information is emerging that about 300 people died in the Drama Theatre of Mariupol following strikes by a Russian aircraft," Mariupol city hall wrote on Telegram.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said last week following the strike that hundreds of people, believed mostly to be women and children, had taken in the building at the time of the attack.
Mariupol city hall said Friday the theatre was destroyed in a "cynical" attack and claimed that Russia knew civilians were taking refuge in the building.
‘Powerful bombs’ rock Ukraine’s besieged Mariupol amid new rescue bid
Zelensky says nearly 100,000 people are trapped without food, water or power in the besieged city and enduring fierce shelling by Russian forces.
The leader of Russia's southern republic of Chechnya said Thursday that forces from his region had taken control of Mariupol city hall and hoisted the Russian flag.