The hammering of the beleaguered southern port city of Mariupol increased Sunday as local authorities accused the Russian military of attacking an art school where approximately 400 civilians had taken refuge.
There was no immediate information on casualties, but Mariupol municipal council claimed the structure was damaged and people could remain under the rubble.
A few days before, Russian forces attacked a theater in Mariupol where residents took sanctuary. Mariupol, a vital port on the Azov Sea, has been ringed by the Russian army for weeks, cut from electricity, food and water supplies and facing a constant bombardment.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the siege of Mariupol would go down in history for what he described as war crimes committed by Russian forces.
“To do this to a peaceful city, what the occupiers did, is a terror that will be remembered for decades to come,” Zelenskyy said in a televised address to his nation Sunday.
Russia has expanded its indiscriminate shelling of urban areas, resulting in massive destruction and huge numbers of civilian casualties, the United Kingdom’s Defense Ministry stated in an assessment Sunday.
“Over the past week Russian forces have made modest progress in conquering these cities,” the ministry tweeted Sunday. “It is likely Russia will continue to employ its heavy weapons to back attacks on urban areas as it attempts to minimise its own already enormous losses – at the cost of extra civilian lives.”