Russian occupation authorities in Mariupol have begun demolishing the Donetsk Academic Regional Drama Theater, reports Petro Andriushchenko, advisor to the city mayor. In March, a Russian airstrike on the theater took the lives of at least 300 people who were using it as shelter.
According to Andriushchenko, they are only taking down the rear and the central part of the building that sustained the most damage in the explosion. The facade will be used as the basis of the theater's future “reconstruction”. “Tearing down the ruins of the Drama Theater is an unquestionable attempt to bury forever the physical evidence of the most massive murder of Ukrainians by Russians since the beginning of the current phase of the war. The invaders aren’t even trying to hide their intentions,” the advisor writes in his Telegram channel.
The Russian Air Forces launched a strike on Mariupol's drama theater on March 16. At the time, over 1,000 city residents were using it as an air-raid shelter. Associated Press journalists concluded that the overall death toll of the Russian strike may have stood at 600. Amnesty International carried out an investigation and established that a Russian jet – most likely, a Su-25, Su-30, or Su-34 – dropped two 400–800 kilogram bombs on the building of the theater and that the bombs went off simultaneously.