One badly wounded, no dead in Mariupol theatre strike

Up to 1,000 people, mostly women and children, are said to have been sheltering inside the theatre (above) at the time of the attack.

KYIV (AFP) - A Russian strike on a theatre sheltering civilians in Ukraine's besieged city of Mariupol badly wounded one person but did not kill anyone, the city's authorities said on Friday (March 18).

"According to initial information, there are no dead. But there is information about one person gravely wounded," the city council said on Telegram, in the first casualty tally since the strike on Wednesday.

"Rubble clearing is ongoing," it said.

The city council said "up to 1,000 people", mostly women and children, were sheltering inside at the time of the attack.

The country's ombudswoman Lyudmyla Denisova said earlier that a bomb shelter underneath the Drama Theatre had survived the impact.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said 130 people had been saved after the bombing, but hundreds were still beneath the rubble.

Ukraine has accused Russia of knowingly hitting the theatre, though Moscow has denied this.

The strike on the theatre drew international condemnations.

Satellite images of the Drama Theatre taken days before the attack, shared by private company Maxar, clearly showed the word "DETI" - or "children" in Russian - written on the ground on either side of the building.

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