Hundreds Reportedly Killed in Airstrike in Ukraine

Hundreds Reportedly Killed in Airstrike in Ukraine

( – Reports say 300 people died when Russian forces bombed a theater in Mariupol on March 16. Authorities in Ukraine announced the death toll on March 25. This strike on civilians has prompted officials to label Russian President Vladimir Putin’s orders to his troops as war crimes.

The airstrike on the building reportedly took place despite large lettering alerting anyone in the air it contained children. The Ukrainian human rights commissioner, Ludmila Denisova, noted there were over 1,300 people inside when the bombing took place.

Mariupol is under heavy siege by Russian troops as Putin tries to take over key Ukrainian cities as part of his campaign. The damage has been catastrophic throughout the area. Before the attacks, Mariupol was home to nearly half a million people.

The strike on the theater was one factor influencing Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s statement on March 23, in which he declared Russian troops guilty of war crimes. He admonished Putin for ordering attacks against civilians and committing atrocities against them.

He further noted evidence of the targeting of civilian areas, like the theater, and another attack on a maternity hospital in Mariupol, also clearly identified as in use during the shelling. He summarized, saying the US is committed to “pursuing accountability” for the crimes.

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