May 25, 2022

The Russian bombing of the Donetsk Academic Regional Drama Theater in Mariupol on March 16 was far deadlier than previously estimated, killing closer to 600 people inside and outside the building, the Associated Press news agency reported on May 4.

AP noted that amid all the horrors that have unfolded in the war on Ukraine, the theater bombing stands out as the single deadliest known attack against civilians to date.

“An Associated Press investigation has found evidence that the attack was in fact far deadlier than estimated, killing closer to 600 people inside and outside the building,” reads the report.

“That’s almost double the death toll cited so far – and many survivors put the number even higher.”

The AP investigation recreated what happened inside the theater on that day from the accounts of 23 survivors, rescuers, and people familiar with its use as a bomb shelter.

The AP also drew on two sets of floor plans of the theater, photos and video taken inside before, during and after that day, as well as feedback from experts who reviewed its methodology.

Russian aircraft bombed the drama theater in Mariupol on March 16. About 1,300 people were hiding in the building at the time.

The mayor of Mariupol, Vadym Boychenko, said that about 300 people had been killed as a result of the bombing.

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