Mariupol theater bombing death toll likely closer to 600
Approximately 600 civilians were killed in the airstrike on a drama theater in Mariupol, Ukraine, in March, — a figure that is twice the city government's official estimate.
The news service relied on accounts of nearly two dozen survivors, rescuers and people intimately familiar with the theater, which was being used as one of the main shelters in the besieged port city when it was bombed on March 16.
If the estimate is accurate, it would mark the deadliest single attack on civilians in Russia's war on Ukraine to date.
Drone footage taken in Mariupol last month . According to Reuters, which published the aerial footage, the Russian word for "children" was written on the ground at the time of the attack.
At the time, the Mariupol City Council , but warned that the actual death toll had been difficult to gather due to constant shelling by Russian forces.
Meanwhile, at the Azovstal steel plant. Mariupol Mayor Vadym Boichenko said his office had lost contact with troops inside the factory, which had .
An estimated 2,000 troops and up to 1,000 civilians were believed to be underneath the structure. About the sprawling mill Monday, but evacuation efforts have since stalled.
Boichenko said about 30 children were waiting to be evacuated from the plant when his office lost contact with the troops.
, at least 3,238 civilians, including more than 200 children, have been killed in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began on Feb. 24, though the agency believes the actual death toll is likely much higher.
Russia has denied targeting civilians.
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