Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Mariupol theater

The Mariupol Drama Theater in Mariupol, Ukraine was allegedly bombed by Russian forces on March 16, 2022. (Photo: Donetsk Regional Administration)

Ukraine Officials Say 300 Civilians Were Killed by Russian Bombing of Mariupol Theater

"There cannot and never will be an explanation for this inhuman cruelty."

Brett Wilkins

Officials in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol said Friday that they believe around 300 people were killed in a March 16 Russian airstrike on a theater in which at least hundreds of civilians were sheltering.

"We still do not want to believe in this horror. We still want to believe that everyone managed to escape."

"There is information, based on eyewitnesses, that about 300 people died in the Drama Theater in Mariupol as a result of a bombing by Russian aircraft," the Mariupol City Council said on its Telegram channel. "We still do not want to believe in this horror. We still want to believe that everyone managed to escape. But the words of those who were inside the building at the time of this terrorist act say otherwise."

Details regarding the number of people killed and wounded in last week's attack have been slow to emerge. Aerial photographs—which showed the world "children" painted on parking lots outside—and video footage showed the extent of destruction to the building, in which as many as 1,300 people were believed to have sought safety from Russia's onslaught.

"There cannot and never will be an explanation for this inhuman cruelty," the council said. "As there never will be forgiveness for those who brought devastation, pain, and suffering to our home."

If confirmed, the Russian bombing will rank among the deadliest airstrikes in recent decades. At least 408 Iraqi civilians were incinerated in a 1991 U.S. "smart bomb" attack on an air-raid shelter in Baghdad's Amiriyah neighborhood during the first Gulf War. At least 278 civilians reportedly died in a 2017 U.S. strike on the al-Jadidah neighborhood in Mosul, Iraq.

According to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Russian forces have killed 1,081 Ukrainian civilians and wounded 1,707 more as of Friday. However, the agency said that it "believes that the actual figures are considerably higher, as the receipt of information from some locations where intense hostilities have been going on has been delayed and many reports are still pending corroboration."

Officials in Mariupol claim to have identified more than 2,400 civilians killed by Russian forces in the besieged port city alone. It is still unknown how many people were killed or injured in a March 20 Russian attack on Mariupol's Art School No. 12, where 400 women, children, and elders were sheltering.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'She Can Win If We Stand With Her': Sanders to Rally for Cisneros in Texas

"Her opponent, one of the very few anti-choice Democrats in Congress, is funded by over a million dollars in corporate contributions from Big Oil companies," said Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Jake Johnson ·

Peace Advocates Sound Warnings as Progressive Lawmakers Go All-In for $40 Billion Ukraine War Package

"Russia's invasion of Ukraine must be condemned," says one activist. "But the administration has been telegraphing for weeks that its war aims now go well beyond defending Ukraine."

Brett Wilkins ·

Oklahoma Lawmakers Pass Strictest US Abortion Ban While Roe Still Stands

Reproductive rights supporters vowed to fight against the ban that begins at fertilization and, like legislation in Texas, "creates a bounty-hunting scheme" for enforcement.

Jessica Corbett ·

Judy Blume, Mo Willems Among 1,300 Children's Authors to Condemn 'Wave of Book Suppression'

"Reading stories that reflect the diversity of our world builds empathy and respect for everyone's humanity."

Kenny Stancil ·

Now Do Windfall Tax, Say Climate Groups After Passage of Big Oil Price Gouging Bill

"Voters will reward politicians who stand up for people, not polluters," said one campaigner, "and taxing windfall profits is wildly popular in every part of the country."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo