Nearly 300 people are feared dead in last week’s bombing by a Russian plane on a theatre in the besieged city of Mariupol, AFP reported on Friday.

On March 16, a Russian aircraft dropped a bomb on the Drama Theatre, where nearly 1,300 people had been sheltering, The Guardian reported.

Mariupol city council officials said that the information is based on the account of witnesses. “Until the last, I do not want to believe in this horror,” a statement said. “Until the last, I want to believe that everyone managed to escape.”

The drama theatre, the statement said, was a point for meetings and dates.

The theatre was bombed despite a large inscription reading “children” posted on the ground in white paint in Russian, the Associated Press reported. “The occupier knew where he was hitting,” the statement added.

It is not clear whether emergency workers had finished excavating the site or how the eyewitnesses arrived at the toll.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that nearly 1 lakh people are trapped in the city without food, water and power. He said that they are continuously facing shelling by Russian forces.

On Monday, Ukraine had rejected Russia’s demand to raise white flags in Mariupol in exchange for safe passage for people out of the city.

Russia’s attack on Ukraine completed one month on Thursday. The United Nations’ human rights office stated on the same day that the conflict had killed at least 1,035 people. Of these, 90 were children.

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