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Russia fires cruise missiles; school sheltering 400 hit, claims Ukraine – Times of India



Firing rockets and bombs from the land, air and sea, Russian forces continued to bombard the besieged coastal city of Mariupol on Sunday. With the Russian advance on Ukraine’s major cities stalled and satellite imagery showing soldiers digging into defensive positions around Kyiv, the fierce fighting in the coastal city showed no signs of easing.
The bombing of a theatre where an estimated 1,300 people were seeking refuge on Thursday was followed on Sunday, according to local officials, by a strike on a drama school where 400 people were hiding. Local authorities said the school’s building was destroyed and people could remain under the rubble. There was no immediate word on casualties.
Russian forces on Wednesday also bombed a theatre in Mariupol where civilians were sheltering. City authorities said 130 people were rescued but many more could remain under the debris. A Russian airstrike hit a maternity hospital in Mariupol earlier in the war.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said an unrelenting siege by Russian troops would go down in history for what he said were war crimes. “To do this to a peaceful city, what the occupiers did, is a terror that will be remembered for centuries to come,” Zelensky said in a video address to the nation.
The city is largely cut off from the outside world and, as in scores of other towns and villages across Ukraine’s eastern and southern fronts, the extent of the toll on civilians is hard to estimate. Ukrainian officials said on Sunday that an attack on a home for the elderly on March 11, in a town called Kreminna in the Luhansk region, had killed 56 people. “They just adjusted the tank, put it in front of the house and started firing,” the head of Luhansk regional state administration, Serhiy Haidai, said on Sunday.
Russia, meanwhile, said on Sunday it had used advanced long-range missiles to hit three military facilities in different parts of Ukraine. There was no immediate comment from Ukrainian officials, and the claims could not immediately be independently verified. The statement from Russia’s defence ministry comes as its ground advances have largely stalled.
While Russian forces have faced fierce resistance in and around key cities such as Mariupol, Mykolaiv, and the capital, Kyiv, Ukrainian forces can do little to fend off attacks by cruise and other missiles launched from hundreds of miles away.
Russia said on Sunday that its missiles had struck a Ukrainian military training centre in the northern town of Ovruch and a large fuel depot near the city of Mykolaiv, a strategic Russian target on the way to the port city of Odessa, which hosts the headquarters of the Ukrainian navy. Major General Igor Konashenkov, the Russian defence ministry’s spokesman, said in a statement Sunday that Russia used a Kinzhal hypersonic missile to strike the fuel depot. That is the same type of missile that Russia claimed it used for the first time on Saturday to strike an ammunitions depot in western Ukraine.
While the Ukrainian government confirmed that the facility was hit, it remained unclear whether the hypersonic weapon was used. Cruise missiles launched from the Black Sea on Sunday also destroyed a military factory’s workshops in the northern town of Nizhyn, General Konashenkov said. nyt

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