Officials in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol said Friday 300 people were killed in a Russian air strike March 16 on a theater being used as a bomb shelter.
A post on the Mariupol City Council Telegram online social media channel Friday stated, “From eyewitnesses, information is emerging that about 300 people died in the Drama Theatre of Mariupol following strikes by a Russian aircraft." It is unclear if the count of victims is final ongoing attacks on the city have made rescue and recovery efforts difficult.
It was not immediately clear whether emergency workers had finished recovery efforts at the site or how the eyewitnesses arrived at the death toll.
Officials in the southeastern port city had previously said about 130 survivors had been pulled from the rubble of the building.
Ukrainian officials had said more than 1,300 people had been sheltering in the building. At the time the theater was struck, an enormous inscription reading “CHILDREN” in the Russian language was posted outside the building, intended to be visible from the skies above.
The city council telegram post went on to say, “Until the last moment, we want to believe that everyone managed to escape. There cannot and never will be an explanation for this inhuman cruelty,” the council wrote. “As there never will be forgiveness for those who brought devastation, pain and suffering to our home.”
Some information for this report was provided by the Associated Press.