Did Those Who Hid in the Mariupol Drama Theater Have a Chance to Survive?
7 OCTOBER, 2022
Collage: Maria Petrova / Zaborona. Image: Center for Spatial Technologies / Unsplash
Collage: Maria Petrova / Zaborona. Image: Center for Spatial Technologies / Unsplash
The authors:
On the morning of March 16, the Russian army dropped an aerial bomb on the Mariupol Drama Theater in the city center, where hundreds of people were hiding from the shelling. Together with the Center for Spatial Technologies Zaborona journalists are investigating the attack on civilians.

How many people were hiding in the drama theatre? Was there a chance to survive the bombing? How many people died?

Journalists and researchers interviewed dozens of people who were at the scene during the bombing, saw the plane, and tried to escape and save others.

The official investigation has been carrying out by the Ukrainian Prosecutor's Office in the Donetsk region — in this text, we publish the information provided to Zaborona by prosecutors. We have also spoken to representatives of the local administration of Mariupol — and some of the information differs from that provided to us by witnesses and prosecutors. As long as the city is under the control of the Russian army, it is difficult to make final conclusions about the tragedy, because there is no access to the crime scene. In addition, during the months of occupation, the Russian occupying authorities has destroyed many (almost most) of the evidence of their own crime.
Why did people gather in the drama theater?
The drama theater was one of the few bomb shelters in Mariupol. This was well known to those who worked there. Therefore, it was the employees of the drama theater who were the first to come there when the shelling of the city began. Vira Lebedynska was among them.

Vira moved to Mariupol from Donetsk in 2014 to escape the war. Since then, she worked at the Mariupol Drama Theater — first as a vocal teacher, then as the head of the music program. She knew about the bomb shelter, so she didn't even think about other options when Russia launched a full-scale invasion.

The theater employees brought their families there, told their relatives and neighbors about the shelter. This is how a student of Mariupol Professional College of Culture and Arts Andriy (last name withheld for security reasons) and his girlfriend got to the drama theater. Andriy lived in a dormitory next door to a married couple of drama theater artists. And, unlike the dormitory, Andriy says he felt safe at the drama theater.
On March 4, electricity, gas, water and heating were cut off in Mariupol. Any digital communications in most of the city disappeared. It became difficult for citizens to get information about what was happening. Speaking to Zaborona, Mariupol mayor's adviser Petro Andriushchenko said that the only source of communication was the Kyivstar telephone tower, which had been operating in the city until mid-March. It was located in the city center near Svobody Square (Freedom Square). According to the mayor, the tower was filled with diesel fuel, and two employees maintained it until Russia destroyed it completely. Therefore, Mariupol residents could systematically communicate with employees of the executive committee, public utilities, volunteers, and their relatives.

Petro Andriushchenko. Photo: petpavan / Instagram
Through word of mouth, the news about the evacuation of civilians from the city reached Mariya (last name withheld for security reasons), one of the gathering points was near the drama theater. On the same day, she packed her things, took her two dogs and a cat, and went to the theater. Mariupol residents also learned about the evacuation from the drama theater from representatives of the local Red Cross. This happened to Volodymyr (last name withheld for security reasons).

In early March, when Russia had already surrounded Mariupol and was shelling it with artillery, Grads, and aircraft, a Red Cross volunteer came to the basement where Volodymyr was staying with his two children and wife. He told the locals that the next day evacuation buses would leave from the drama theater to Zaporizhzhya. According to the volunteer, they had to go from three locations: the store Thousand Little Things on Myru Avenue (Peace Avenue), the drama theater, and the sports complex Illichivets. The store was the closest to Volodymyr's house, but when the family got there, there was no evacuation. So they decided to go to the drama theater.
Map of the dynamics of the advance of Russian troops in Mariupol from February 24 to March 16, 2022
Map of the dynamics of the advance of Russian troops in Mariupol from February 24 to March 16, 2022
Law enforcement officers also advised people to evacuate from the drama theater. On March 5, the police came to the dormitory where Lisa's boyfriend lived and said that the next day people would be evacuated from Mariupol: the gathering point was (again) the drama theater.
Why was the drama theater chosen as the evacuation point?
The building of the theater is located in the center of the city on Teatralna Square (Theater Square), in peacetime, it was often used for appointments, New Year celebrations, dates, excursions for schoolchildren. A typical central square of the city — all locals know where it is located and can easily find it. The square in front of the drama theater is quite wide, there is a wide Myru Avenue nearby — a lot of cars could gather there. The road around the drama theater is circular, with exits to any part of the city, so it is relatively easy to get there.
Illustration: Mariya Petrova / Zaborona
World powerlifting champion Oleksandr Rubets also says that the drama theater was a convenient place in terms of the transport interchange. He and his family lived in Mangush, a village near Mariupol. For a long time, the man was looking for a family friend with whom he had no contact — the last time they had talked was when he was in Terrasport — a large fitness club, where people were also hiding. Then, in a conversation, Oleksandr's friend had said that people were gathering in the bomb shelter of the drama theater.Thei were the very place where Rubets later came in search of his friend.

Oleksandr Rubets. Photo: Oleksandr Rubets / Facebook
There was a large equipped bomb shelter in the Drama Theater — this is indicated by the adviser to the mayor of Mariupol Petro Andriushchenko. It was believed that it was safe to designate it as a gathering place for evacuation because if the area was shelled, people standing in line for evacuation could hide in the basement of the building.

"There really was a normal bomb shelter and as we can see, the people who were there survived. Because at least it looked like a real bomb shelter," explains Andriushchenko.
To see the photos and read the testimonies of the residents of the theater-storage, rotate the model and click on the corresponding numbers. Model of the building of the Mariupol Drama Theater from the Spatial Technologies Center.
For technical reasons, the model is only available in Ukrainian
Why was there no evacuation for so long?
The first organized evacuation from Mariupol took place on February 24. The next one was to take place on March 5. At 11 a.m. the first "green corridor" from Mariupol was to be opened. People were actively gathering near the drama theater for five days in a row, but every day the evacuation was postponed. Russia did not provide a "green corridor", and it was very risky to go randomly under fire. Those who came to the drama theater to leave the city stayed there for weeks waiting for an opportunity.

On March 10, many people came to the theater in their own cars. They learned that a convoy leaving Mariupol would be formed here. The evacuation did not happen again. Some decided to go on their own, others left their cars near the building and stayed inside.
A boy peeps out of the one window of one of 15 busses that carried Mariupol residents towards Berdiansk yesterday and today have arrived in Zaporizhzhia, southeastern Ukraine. Photo: Dmytro Smoliyenko/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images
The first mass evacuation from the drama theater since February 24 took place only on March 14 — two days before the tragedy. Rumors that those who left had successfully made it to safety quickly spread through the city.

The next day, Lisa says, a man in a minibus arrived at the Drama Theater and offered to go with him to Berdiansk (a town in the Zaporizhzhya region). Other drivers joined him. About 700 people gathered. It was a self-organized evacuation, no one accompanied or supervised it. There was no "green corridor". Then quite a lot of parents with children left the drama theater — the witnesses interviewed by Zaborona and the Center for Spatial Technologies speak of hundreds of people.
On March 15, Mariya Kutnyakova caught a mobile connection and was able to contact her friends from another, calmer place. They told about the successful evacuation the day before and about the organization of the next departure on March 16. So the next day Mariya was already at the main entrance of the drama theater.

On the morning of March 16, several witnesses interviewed by Zaborona and the Center for Spatial Technologies saw two minibuses and a truck with the inscription "CHILDREN" in front of the theater. Inside the latter was a car. Most likely, it was an evacuation vehicle, but it was not provided by local authorities or volunteers — ordinary people came in their own minibuses to help others leave. There were no soldiers near the vehicles, no police either.
Illustration: Mariya Petrova / Zaborona
In addition to these buses, private vehicles were gathering on Teatralna Square in front of the drama theater, just like in previous evacuation attempts. People were lining up in a column to leave the city towards Berdyansk. Many people wanted to get into someone's car, 8-10 people were crammed into the cars.
How did the number of people who were in the theater change?
As of March 5, about 100 people settled in the drama theater, and gradually the number was about to increase. Around March 10, the drama theater stopped letting new residents in. Employees of the theater who lived there said that the premises were overcrowded and people were forced to live in potentially dangerous rooms, such as the auditorium, where a huge crystal chandelier hung, which could injure those hiding in case of shelling. At the same time, a local official came to the theater — none of the interviewees knows who it was. He asked why people were not allowed to the bomb shelter, then the police arrived and ordered to let everyone in.

Andriy's neighbor in the dormitory, sound director Yevhenia Zabohonska, who worked in the drama theater, began to organize the routine of people in the theater and became a kind of crisis administrator. Together with other volunteer residents, she kept lists of those who lived in the theater-shelter. According to the lists, on March 14, there were up to 1700 people in the drama theater. According to the testimonies collected by Zaborona journalists together with the Center for Spatial Technologies, after the evacuation from the drama theater on March 15, up to a thousand residents remained there, and according to some of the testimonies, up to seven hundred. The same information is confirmed by the adviser to the mayor of Mariupol Petro Andriushchenko.

"Indeed, the day before the explosion there were from 1200 to 1500 people in the building of the drama theater. However, due to the evacuation, the citizens left en masse. According to a survey of people who were there, at least 900 people were in the building of the theater [on March 16]," he said.

The lists kept by the residents of the theater-shelter have not been preserved. Because of this, it is impossible to establish the names of the people who were in the theater before and during the attack, and at the same time to draw conclusions about the exact number of residents.
Where exactly did people live in the drama theater?
Some in the corridors, some in the aisles, in the corners, and on the stairs. The most populated part of the building was the basement. It seemed to the inhabitants as the safest place. Fewer people lived on the upper two floors — it was too cold there.

Together with the teachers of the music college who worked in the theater, Andriy and his girlfriend lived in one of the basement rooms. "From the basement, you could go to a separate room. In the middle of this area, there was a large table and two exits to smaller rooms — dressing rooms. We occupied one of these rooms. We slept on the theater benches, but compared to other people hiding in the drama theater, our conditions were very good. It was difficult to stay in the basement all the time: even though the room is designed for 50 people, there were about 200 persons there," Andriy recalls.
One of the residents of the theater had a parrot with which children played. Photo provided by witness Olga Korniychuk
The head of the music department of the drama theater Vira Lebedynska also lived in a separate room in the basement. Until February 24, it was her recording room. You could go down there by steps from the auditorium. In the room, there was an electronic piano, a cupboard with sheet music, and a wardrobe with costumes. In most of these rooms lived mothers with small children.

Volodymyr with his wife and two children were initially accommodated on the ground floor near the main entrance to the theater. There was a sofa on which the family of four slept. When the shelling of the drama theater began, the family decided to look for a safer place. Volodymyr found a place for his wife and children in the basement, while he stayed on the ground floor.

When Mariya Kutnyakova with her family and neighbors came to the drama theater, there was no more space for people in it. At the entrance, she met an acquaintance and asked where she could stay. He said that any place you choose can become your bed. At that time the bomb shelter was already completely full. Mariya and her neighbor went through three floors — almost the entire area was occupied. As a result, the women found a place on the floor for six members of their families on the third floor.
To see the photos and read the testimonies of the residents of the theater-storage, rotate the model and click on the corresponding numbers. Model of the building of the Mariupol Drama Theater from the Spatial Technologies Center.
For technical reasons, the model is only available in Ukrainian
How was everyday life organized?
On March 5-7, the drama theater was calm. Then the Russians began to actively bomb the largest plant in Mariupol — Azovstal — it was visible from the windows of the theater. Then the bombs started flying towards the building of the DOSAAF [Voluntary Society for Assistance to the Army, Aviation and Navy], 300-400 meters away from Teatralna Square (Theater Square). Everything was in smoke, it was difficult to go outside.
Perhaps they were casseroles brought from the restaurant. After the appearance of the field kitchen in such "small kitchens", a part of the people prepared their own food and boiling water separately one at a time. Photo provided by witness Olga Korniychuk
At first, it was almost impossible to wash your face — there was only drinking water. In order not to waste it, the theater residents melted snow and collected rainwater in buckets. The first days, says Andriy, there was no food at all. Near the theater there was a Produktel store (a goods store) — people broke into it and took food. Then they went to the Molodizhnyi Palace of Culture (Youth Palace of Culture) to get medicines. The toilets in the building were not designed for such a large number of people, so they quickly became clogged. Garbage was demolished and burned in a 200-liter metal barrel — a prop from the play "Maidan Inferno" written by a French playwright and dedicated to the Revolution of Dignity.
Initially, the theater staff self-organized and distributed responsibilities among themselves: someone accounted for people, someone cooked food, and someone cleaned. To distinguish who was doing what, the theater workers hung ropes with wardrobe numbers around their necks as signs explaining their duties. Later, other residents began to join the activities. Later, the military and police began to bring food, water, and medicines to the theater. However, they did not stay in the premises — they brought humanitarian aid and left without going inside. This is confirmed by all those with whom the journalists of Zaborona and the Center for Spatial Technologies spoke.
The field kitchen brought by the police. Photo provided by a witness
Around March 10, the military brought a field kitchen, which was installed outside the theater. There, volunteers cooked food for the shelter residents every day. Portions were given out in the cloakroom so that the queue did not stand on the street. There were several brick braziers on the street near the field kitchen. People were chopping chairs and armchairs from the auditorium for firewood. They cooked something from their own stocks on the grills. Residents brought semi-finished products and frozen food from the shops. Potato stocks came from somewhere. The soup was cooked from what was available — usually from fish, which was stored in large quantities in the freezer.

A neighbor in the basement told Lisa that she had used to give her child 8 spoons of baby food, but in the theater she had had to give only one and a half. Many children were hysterical, they cried often and for a long time — the lack of food, the closed rooms, a fat air, and too many strangers.

To get food, medicines in the first aid post located on the ground floor, or any other humanitarian aid, one had to register with the administrators — this role was usually performed by the theater staff. In the queue for boiling water, coffee or breakfast, you had to show your passport. Volunteers looked for people on the lists and gave them everything they needed.
Were there Ukrainian military or police in the drama theater?
A few days before the attack on the drama theater, Russian propagandists spread reports that the Ukrainian military were hiding in the shelter. This happened after the Azov regiment published a video with footage of civilians inside the theater on March 10.

On March 12, propagandist Dmitry Steshin published a post in his telegram channel (a popular network in the post-Soviet countries) that allegedly "residents of Mariupol" sent him the following message: "Zelensky is preparing the second provocation for the good picture in the Western media. After the unsuccessful provocation in the maternity hospital, Ukrainian soldiers, together with the administration of the drama theater, gathered Mariupol women, children, and old people in the building of the drama theater to blow up them and howl that it is the Russian aviation who did it and it is urgent to close the Ukrainian sky."

After the attack of Russian aviation, on the evening of March 16, Steshin publishes this "warning from the locals" on the KP website (a Russian propagandist government-controlled media) as a fact, and the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that "Nazis from Azov" blew up the theater. A few months later, on July 19, the propaganda media wrote that at the time of the explosion there were no civilians in the theater, but only the Azov soldiers.
Printout with operational data of the defense of Mariupol. Source: ASTRA /
Most of those interviewed by Zaborona journalists and researchers from the Center for Spatial Technologies claim that they did not see people in military or police uniforms hiding in the drama theater. Some claim that the military or police only came to bring food, warm clothes, and medicine. Communication between the residents of the drama theater and the military was exclusively about evacuation and supply of resources — once every three days they brought humanitarian aid.

According to the data collected by Zaborona and the Center for Spatial Technologies, every day the military brought to the theater a printout with operational data and news from the front. For example, on the evening of March 14, the military reported that starting tomorrow the front line was moving closer to the city center and warned that the theater area could be bombed by Russian troops. At the time of the tragedy, there were neither military nor police inside nor on the square in front of the drama theater. Several people in uniform were seen after the explosion. Some witnesses said they saw State Emergency Service vehicles, an ambulance, and a police car on the road shortly after the explosion.
The inscription "CHILDREN"
In the early days, one of the residents of the drama theater suggested to paint a red cross on the roof of the building. However, someone from the audience said that Russians, on the contrary, drop shells on such buildings. Then they decided to write "CHILDREN" in Russian in front and behind the theater.

The inscription "CHILDREN" was not just a preventer of shelling. There really were many children in the theater. Andriy says that there were even births in the basement. Behind the wall of the dressing room where he lived, there was a large room where mothers with babies were.

"I remembered how I once went down to the basement at night, and there mothers were singing lullabies. In one voice. It was a bit scary," Andriy recalls.
Illustration: Mariya Petrova / Zaborona
Vira Lebedynska says that the inscription "CHILDREN" was made by the theatre staff. It was written under the direction of the theater's sound engineer Yevhenia Zabohonska.
What happened during the explosion?
Residents of the drama theater usually woke up at 8-9 a.m. March 16 was no exception. Volodymyr woke up earlier than usual. That day he wanted to take his family out of the shelling, but he did not have his own car. The man went to negotiate with people who were gathering with their cars near the theater to join the convoy. That day, the central and adjacent areas of the city were heavily shelled, so his wife and children were hiding in a bomb shelter.

Volodymyr met Oleksandr Rubets, who had just arrived at the drama theater. He agreed to help in the search for Oleksandr's friend and walked him through the floors of the building. Oleksandr went to look for his friend in another place, then returned to the drama theater and told Volodymyr to get ready to go.

Volodymyr went to the basement to his family. His younger daughter had been food poisoned the day before, and his wife doubted whether to leave today. The older child was in a difficult emotional state and was afraid to leave the bomb shelter. When Oleksandr followed Volodymyr's family, there was an explosion. The building trembled, dust and plaster particles filled the room. Some people ran upstairs from the basement, and those who were upstairs, on the contrary, tried to get into the basement. Volodymyr's family managed to pass through the two-way flow of people into the lobby of the theater, where they met Oleksandr.

Rubets met the moment of the explosion on the ground floor, near the main entrance. Next to him was a little boy — the son of a woman whom Oleksandr also agreed to take with him in the car to Zaporizhzhia. He covered the boy with himself so that he would not be hit by the debris. "It became dark in the room, I took out my phone and turned on the flashlight. I saw that a woman standing near me fell to the floor. I thought she was knocked down by the blast wave and needed help to get up. I tried to lift her up, but when I turned her over, I saw a piece of chipboard in her throat, which was used to block the windows in the drama theater. I could not help her anymore", Rubets recalls.

Vira Lebedynska and her friend went down to their room. Loud sounds of the plane, whistling and a loud explosion followed. Then dust, roar, people screaming. Plaster fell in the room where the women were sitting. In the next room, the heavy iron door was completely knocked out.

"When everything quieted down, my friend's husband decided to go and check the situation. I do not remember how long he was gone. We just stood there. Then he came back, crying, and said: "There is no theater. There are corpses there, it's terrible," Lebedynska recalls.

They decided to flee from the drama theater because the building could collapse. While running towards the exit, they saw many corpses. Most of all, Vira remembers a dead girl with her parents bending over her.
Video: witness Yulia
Before the explosion, Mariya Kutnyakova went to visit her uncle, who lived 15 minutes from the drama theater. On the way, she saw the shelling of the Azovstal plant. Later, the first plane flew over her head, then the second. They were dropping bombs on the city center. The woman saw smoke over the drama theater. Approaching, she saw that the building was half destroyed. Wounded people were lying on the street around the building. The top of the theater began to burn, it had no roof and the walls collapsed.

On the street, Kutnyakova started shouting her last name to find her family who remained in the building. Someone responded, but it was not clear where the voice was coming from. She approached the door from the side — it turned out to be the entrance to the bomb shelter. Stairs were going down from it, Mariya went down and saw her family downstairs. They were covered in plaster, but not injured. They went outside. At that time the square in front of the drama theater was shelled with artillery. People who were on the street ran in different directions.
The destroyed theater hall after the Russian bombing of the Mariupol Drama Theater, March 18, 2022. Photo: MIA OF UKRAINE / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Lisa was in the basement with her mother and boyfriend at the time of the explosion. They were just having breakfast when the explosion occurred. A couple of minutes later a man ran into the basement and shouted that the drama theater was gone.

"He had a bloody face — most likely, he was hit by some fragment from the wall. I thought he was exaggerating. But everyone was very scared and ran upstairs. One exit was blocked, and people broke through the other. We ran outside and I looked back at the building. There was really almost nothing left of the drama theater. Only the front and back walls, a huge crater in the middle. The side wall fell on the field kitchen where volunteers were preparing breakfast. There was a pile of stones at that place. It was unrealistic to get someone out of there. I think there were no survivors," says Lisa.

Shortly before the explosion, hot water was being distributed near the field kitchen, and there was a queue of people, including Mariya. She got her portion of boiling water and fish scraps from the kitchen for her pets. She fed the dogs, tied them to a suitcase, and went to get water in a bowl. The water tank was at the entrance to the theater.
She heard the hum of the plane and then an explosion. The first thing she saw was a man lying face down. He was covered in debris. A woman was sitting next to him, shaking his shoulder and screaming. Mariya remembered that she had a first aid kit. She went to get it but realized that the entrance to the hall, where her things and dogs were, was blocked. She tried to get into the room from different sides, but nothing worked. Mariya's dogs and cat were probably also covered with debris from the walls and ceiling.
Satellite images of damage to the Mariupol Theater and nearby buildings, March 29, 2022.
Photo: Maxar Technologies
How did people help the wounded?
There were many wounded. The degree of injuries was different — from bruises and lacerations to torn limbs. The medical point was blocked. People were tearing sheets and bandaging the wounded. Splints for broken limbs were made from boards that had fallen from the windows.

Lisa ran to a woman lying under the rubble. She was screaming in pain — there was a huge slab on her legs that could not be lifted without the help of equipment. Probably, this woman could not be rescued either.

People from neighboring houses came to the explosion in the drama theater. Among them were Yulia and her boyfriend who lived 400 meters away. "It was a through hole. Only one guy from the field kitchen survived, his back was injured. We did not touch him because he asked us not to. We were waiting for someone to come and take the wounded. We started to dismantle the rubble, but the stones and piles were very heavy. It was difficult without special equipment," Yulia recalls.

Illustration: Mariya Petrova / Zaborona
The wounded were taken from the main entrance of the building. In total, Yulia and her boyfriend managed to pull out 12 people with injuries of varying severity. One woman's leg was amputated on the spot, she did not survive.

Several witnesses interviewed by Zaborona journalists claim that those who were on the upper floors of the theater had no chance of survival, as the shell hit directly there. In the lobby on the ground floor, according to witnesses, a maximum of fifty people survived. After the explosion in the drama theater, a fire started in a part of the basement from the side of Myru Avenue, where there were about 20 people. Witnesses say that people had to be persuaded to come out because everyone was very scared.

Someone managed to dig out a first aid kit from the rubble in the drama theater. There were mostly medicines for headaches and food poisoning. There was hydrogen peroxide and painkillers in ampoules — they were injected to seriously wounded.

Later, a guy from the Territorial Defense joined the rescue. He came to the drama theater after the explosion. He had a first aid kit and tourniquets with him and was giving injections to the wounded. Two policemen came to the theater. They transported the wounded in a civilian car to Hospital No. 3 — there was a surviving maternity ward there. It is unknown how many people were injured in total.
Infographic: Maria Petrova / Prohibition
How many people died in the theater?
Prosecutors of the Donetsk regional prosecutor's office in a conversation with Zaborona say that, according to preliminary data, up to a hundred people were killed and injured. This means that probably several dozen were killed.

The data of the Donetsk regional prosecutor's office are very different from those published by local officials. Thus, on March 25, Mariupol City Council claimed that about 300 people died. The same figure was quoted by Mariupol mayor's adviser Petro Andriushchenko in a conversation with Zaborona.

The Associated Press agency conducted its own investigation and found that the number of victims could be twice as high. AP journalists interviewed 23 witnesses of the tragedy, built a 3D model of the drama theater, and consulted military experts.

The same figure is quoted by volunteer Mykhailo Puryshev, who evacuated people from Mariupol in the first months of the invasion — he said this in a conversation with Zaborona.
Employees of the Ministry of Emergencies of Russia sort through rubble in the partially destroyed Mariupol Drama Theater, May 10, 2022. Photo: STRINGER / AFP via Getty Images
At the same time, terrorists from the DNR and the Russian Federation, who accused the Ukrainian Armed Forces of the air strike, said that 14 people were killed, and the official figures of Ukrainian and international observers are fake. Russian officials also claim that a few days before the explosion, the Ukrainian military allegedly brought "some boxes" into the theater, which, in their opinion, "detonated" during the explosion. They claim that the theater exploded from the inside. But preliminary research by the Center for Spatial Technologies indicates that the consequences of the attack indicate an air strike (Zaborona will tell more about the research methodology in the next article on the destruction of the drama theater).
In the first days of the full occupation of Mariupol, the Russians began to dismantle the rubble of the drama theater: there is a confirming video published by journalist Andriy Lokhmatov. On August 31, the StratCom of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that the occupiers were pouring concrete over the bodies of the dead in the drama theater, and trying to eliminate the corpse smell with chlorine.

Earlier, Amnesty International, as part of its investigation, concluded that at least 12 people were killed as a result of air strikes (the organization's researchers say about two bombs), and most likely much more.
A missing persons notice on the wall of a tent at a refugee center in Zaporizhzhia, April 25, 2022. Photo: Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Based on the evidence that Zaborona and the Center for Spatial Technologies have gathered so far, we are inclined to conclude that most of the drama theater's residents survived the attack, and the number of dead may range from several dozen to hundreds of people. But the lack of access to the drama theater building and the lists of shelter residents makes it impossible to draw a more specific conclusion.
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