Searching for survivors at the Mariupol theatre smashed

There were no deaths reported within a few days of the airstrike. There were conflicting reports about whether any survivors had been found, as communications in the area were disrupted and movements made difficult by shelling.

“We hope and we think that some people who stayed in the shelter under the theater could survive,” Petro Andrushchenko, an official with the mayor’s office, told The Associated Press. According to him, the basement shelter was modern enough to resist airstrikes.

Previous officials stated that people were getting out. Ludmyla denisova (Ukraine’s Ombudswoman) stated that the shelter was still standing on Telegram.

Satellite imagery from Maxar Technologies on Monday showed large white letters written on the sidewalk in front and behind the theater. These letters were meant to warn warplanes that they are inside.

Across the city, snow flurries fell around the skeletons of burned, windowless and shrapnel-scarred apartment buildings as smoke rose above the skyline.

” We are trying to survive somehow,” stated a Mariupol resident who only gave her first name Elena. My child is starving. I don’t know what to give him to eat.”

She had been trying to call her mother, who was in a town 50 miles (80 kilometers) away. “I can’t tell her I am alive, you understand. She said that there was no connection.

Cars with the Russian “Z” symbol in their windows drove by stacks of artillery shells and ammunition boxes in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatists.

Russia’s military denied bombing the theater or anyplace else in Mariupol on Wednesday. The strike on the theater was part a chaotic bombardment of civilian areas in several cities over the last few days.

In the northern city of Chernihiv, at least 53 people had been brought to morgues over the past 24 hours, killed amid heavy Russian air attacks and ground fire, the local governor, Viacheslav Chaus, told Ukrainian TV on Thursday. Ukraine’s emergency services reported that a father, mother and their three children were all killed in the attack on a Chernihiv hostel. Civilians were hiding in basements and shelters across the embattled city of 280,000,

“The city has never known such nightmarish, colossal losses and destruction,” Chaus said.

Ukrainian officials said 10 people were also killed Wednesday while waiting in a bread line in Chernihiv. His sister posted on Facebook that an American man was one of them.

At least 21 people were killed when Russian artillery destroyed a school and a community center before dawn in Merefa, near the northeast city of Kharkiv, according to Mayor Veniamin Sitov. In an attempt to push forward, the Russian troops have been bombarding the region with heavy bombing.

A municipal pool where women with and pregnant women were sheltering was also attacked Wednesday by the Donetsk region administration. The number of casualties from the strike was not known.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for more help for his country in a video address to German lawmakers, saying thousands of people have been killed, including 108 children. According to Katrin Göring-Eckardt, Bundestag deputy speaker, the address was delayed due to a technical issue caused by an attack near Zelenskyy’s location.

Zelenskyy’s office said Russian airstrikes hit the Kalynivka and Brovary suburbs of the capital, Kyiv. Emergency authorities in Kyiv said a fire broke out in a 16-story apartment building hit by remnants of a downed Russian rocket, and one person was killed.

The U.N. Security Council planned to meet Thursday on the crisis. In a joint statement the seven leading countries’ foreign ministers accused Putin of waging an “unprovoked, shameful war” and asked Russia to follow the International Court of Justice order to cease its attacks and to withdraw its troops. Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared on Wednesday to criticize Russians for not backing him.

Russians will always be able “to distinguish true patriots form scum or traitors, and will simply throw them out like an accidental flew into their mouths,” Putin said. His language was reminiscent of Stalinist times. “I am convinced that such a natural and necessary self-purification of society will only strengthen our country.”

He said the West is using a “fifth column” of traitorous Russians to create civil unrest. He said, “And there’s only one goal. I have spoken about it already — the destruction Russia.”

The speech appeared to be a warning that his authoritarian rule, which had already grown tighter since the invasion began on Feb. 24, could become even more repressive.

In a sign of that, Russian law enforcement announced the first known criminal cases under a new law that allows for 15-year prison terms for posting what is deemed to be “false information” about the war. Veronika Belozerkovskaya was charged as a blogger and author of Russian cookbooks.

One day after U.S. President Joe Biden called Putin a “war criminal,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said American officials were evaluating and documenting potential war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine. Blinken stated that intentional targeting civilians is a war crime, and there would be severe consequences for those who are proven guilty.

Russia and Ukraine reported progress this week in negotiations. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday that some negotiators were breaking into working groups, “but there should be contacts today.”

Talks were held by video Wednesday. According to Zelenskyy’s official, the principal topic of discussion was where and whether Russian troops will remain in the separatist areas in eastern Ukraine following the war.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity in order to talk about the sensitive discussions. He said that Ukraine wanted one or more Western nuclear power countries included in negotiations, as well as legally binding security guarantee for Ukraine.

In return, the official stated that Ukraine was open to discussing a neutral military position. Russia demanded from NATO that it never admit Ukraine into the alliance nor station troops there.

More than 3,000,000 people fled Ukraine due to the fighting, according to U.N. estimates. Although the death toll is unknown, Ukraine claims that thousands have been killed.

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

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