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21 killed in pre-dawn Russian attack on school

Russia Ukraine War
Posted at 11:21 AM, Mar 17, 2022

MEREFA, Ukraine — Twenty-one people have been killed by Russian artillery that destroyed a school and a community center in Merefa, near the northeast city of Kharkiv, officials said.

Merefa Mayor Veniamin Sitov said the attack occurred just before dawn on Thursday.

The Kharkiv region has seen heavy bombardment as stalled Russian forces try to advance in the area.

In the city of Chernihiv, northeast of Kyiv, Ukraine’s emergency service says a hostel was shelled, killing a mother, father and three of their children, including 3-year-old twins.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office says Russia also carried out further airstrikes on the besieged port city of Mariupol early on Thursday morning.

The strikes come amid rescue efforts in the city after a theater where hundreds had been sheltering was destroyed Wednesday in what Ukrainian authorities say was a Russian airstrike.

Some hope emerged Thursday, as one official said some people have managed to emerge from the theater, but the fate of others remained unknown.