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Russia attacks Ukrainian theatre sheltering over 1,000 civilians

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Ukraine said on Thursday that Russia had bombed a theatre in the beleaguered southern port city of Mariupol, killing over a thousand people, while the exact number remains unknown.

Officials released photos of the once-gleaming whitewashed three-story theatre, which had been hollowed out and set flame, with bricks and scaffolding stacked high.

"The invaders destroyed the Drama Theatre. A place where more than a thousand people found refuge. We will never forgive this,” the Mariupol City Council said in a Telegram post.

Days before the alleged attack, satellite photographs released by private business Maxar clearly revealed the words "DETI" — which means "children" in Russian — scratched into the ground on both sides of the structure.

The attack was described as a "horrifying tragedy" by Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko.

The city is a crucial strategic target for Moscow, as it might serve as a link between Russian forces in Crimea and the Donbas in the east, cutting off Ukraine's access to the Sea of Azov.

Russian soldiers have been bombarding the city, which formerly had a population of approximately half a million people, for days, cutting off electricity, food, and water supplies. The attack was labeled a war crime by Ukrainian officials.

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