Friday, March 18, 2022

Survivors Emerge From Bombed Ukrainian Theater (VIDEO)

At WSJ, "Survivors Emerge From Ukrainian Theater Bombed in Russian Airstrike":

Rescuers freed 130 people from the building in Mariupol and hundreds more remained trapped, as Russian forces continued shelling in Ukraine.

LVIV, Ukraine—Rescuers in Mariupol evacuated 130 people from the wreckage of a theater hit by an airstrike this week and searched for more survivors, as Russia expanded its air assaults on Ukraine’s west, striking an aircraft-repair facility near the Polish border, officials said.

“Hundreds of Mariupol residents are still under the debris,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said during an address to the nation. “Despite the shelling, despite all the difficulties, we will continue rescue work.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to press on with his invasion of Ukraine in a rare public appearance before a crowd of tens of thousands of flag-waving supporters in a Moscow stadium, and President Biden warned Chinese leader Xi Jinping during a call on Friday that Beijing would face repercussions if it provided assistance to Russia in its military assault.

In Mariupol, about 1,300 people remained trapped in the basement of the theater where residents had sought shelter from Russian shelling, said Lyudmyla Denisova, Ukraine’s human-rights commissioner, adding that it was difficult to be certain of the number of survivors. She didn’t confirm any casualties.

“We hope that they will be alive but as of now we have no information about them,” she said in a local television interview. The building was hit during an attack on Wednesday.

Efforts to sort through the wreckage and rescue any survivors are being hampered because rescue services have been nearly wiped out by the attack on the southern port city.

Getting medical treatment to those injured could be difficult, because “a lot of doctors have been killed,” former Gov. Sergiy Taruta said overnight.

More than 9,000 people were evacuated from Mariupol, Mr. Zelensky said in his nightly address. He said that more than 180,000 Ukrainians have been rescued and tons of essential supplies have been delivered. Still, he said, aside from seven humanitarian corridors that have been opened, Russian forces “continue to block the supply of humanitarian aid to the besieged cities in most areas.”

Mr. Zelensky called on Russia to negotiate and said that in the coming days he will address other nations like Switzerland, Israel, Italy and Japan, just like he did the U.S., Canada and Germany. “It’s time to meet. Time to talk. It is time to restore territorial integrity and justice for Ukraine. Otherwise, Russia’s losses will be so huge that several generations will not be enough to rebound,” he said. “Ukraine’s proposals are on the table.”

Russian missiles hit an aircraft-repair facility in the western part of the country on Friday, in a long-range strike far from the heaviest fighting while attacks continued on other cities.

The Ukrainian air force said Russia fired six cruise missiles from the Black Sea. Two were intercepted, preventing them from reaching their target near the airport in the western city of Lviv, about 50 miles from the Polish border.

Polish immigration authorities said Friday that the number of people who have fled Ukraine for Poland has now surpassed two million. More than three million Ukrainians have fled the country since the war began, according to the United Nations refugee agency. A building at the air facility was destroyed, according to Lviv’s mayor, Andriy Sadovyi, who said work at the facility had been suspended before the strike. One person was wounded, and rescue workers were on site putting out a fire, said Maksym Kozytskyi, the head of the Lviv regional military administration.

Friday’s strike on the Lviv facility followed a Sunday air attack on a similar location in Lutsk, also in western Ukraine. Workers at each site repair and modernize Ukrainian combat aircraft of various types. Oleg Zhdanov, a reserve colonel in the Ukrainian army and a military analyst, said the strikes showed that Ukraine’s air fleet, modest and aging, continued to frustrate the Russian war machine.

“This can only mean that our aviation is becoming a big problem for Russia,” he said.

Most of the fighting between the invading Russian forces and Ukrainian troops has been concentrated further east and south. In the eastern city of Kramatorsk, at least one missile hit a residential building overnight, killing two people and wounding 16, said Pavlo Kyrylenko, head of the regional military administration in the eastern region of Donetsk...