A building in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol destroyed by Russian forces (via Flickr)

Russian forces have bombed an art school in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol where more than 400 civilians had taken shelter, local officials said. It’s the second time in the span of one week that Russian troops target a cultural institution in the city that sheltered civilians.

In a Telegram message this weekend, Mariupol City Council said the building of G12 art school in Mariupol’s Left Bank district was destroyed in a Russian attack on Saturday, March 19. The number of casualties is still unknown.

The building sheltered “women, children and the elderly,” the Telegram message said, adding that “peaceful people are still under the rubble.”

Last week, Russian troops bombed Mariupol’s Drama Theater where more than 1,000 civilians were taking shelter from the war. About 130 people were reportedly rescued from the building while hundreds remain trapped under the ruins. Satellite images taken before the bombing showed the word “children” visibly inscribed in Russian on the ground in the front and behind the theater in the hope that Russian fighter jets would avoid targeting the building.

The humanitarian crisis in Mariupol continues to escalate, three weeks after Russian forces laid siege on the city. This weekend, the Mariupol City Council has also alleged that thousands of locals had been kidnapped and deported to Russian territory.

In a video address to his nation today, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the siege on Mariupol a “war crime.”

“To do this to a peaceful city, what the occupiers did, is a terror that will be remembered for centuries to come,” he said.

Earlier in March, the United Nations Human Rights Council voted in favor of a commission to investigate alleged Russian war crimes in Ukraine. Yevheniia Filipenko, Ukraine’s UN ambassador, told the council that there was “irrefutable evidence of gross and systematic human rights violations as well as war crimes and crimes against humanity by Russia.” 

    

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Hakim Bishara

Hakim Bishara is a Senior Editor at Hyperallergic. He is also a co-director at Soloway Gallery, an artist-run space in Brooklyn. Bishara is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital...