RUSsia’s deadly airstrikes on a theater used as a shelter for civilians in the besieged city of Mariupol was a “clear war crime,” an investigation by Amnesty International said.
According to the human rights group, there was no evidence that the Donetsk Academic Regional Drama Theater – where up to 1,300 civilians hid in a basement – was a base for Ukrainian soldiers.
The report found that there was every indication that the theater served as a safe haven for civilians seeking protection from weeks of relentless Russian shelling and air raids.
An estimated 600 people were killed in the attack on March 16, both inside and outside the building.
Amnesty’s crisis response team interviewed several survivors and gathered evidence, and concluded that the airstrike was likely carried out by Russian fighter jets, which dropped two 500kg bombs that struck close together and detonated at the same time.
“After months of rigorous investigation, analysis of satellite images and interviews with dozens of witnesses, we concluded that the strike was a clear war crime committed by Russian troops,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s secretary general.
“Many people were injured and killed in this brutal attack. Their deaths were believed to have been caused by Russian troops deliberately targeting Ukrainian civilians.
“The International Criminal Court and all others with jurisdiction over crimes committed during this conflict must investigate this attack as a war crime.”
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