Associated Press: An air strike on the Mariupol Drama Theater killed about 600 people

Anna Kholodnova

As a result of the attack on the Drama Theater in Mariupol on March 16, about 600 people could have died inside and outside the building.

This is stated in the investigation of the Associated Press.

The investigation was based on the testimony of 23 bombing survivors, rescuers and people familiar with the Drama Theater shelter. Journalists also used plans for the theater, photos and videos taken inside.

All witnesses said that there were at least 100 people in the field kitchen near the theater, and no one survived the air strike. The rooms and corridors inside the building were overcrowded: about one person for every 3 square meters of free space.

According to most eyewitnesses, there were about a thousand people in the theater at the time of the air strike. No one, including rescuers, saw more than 200 people escape alive. Survivors mostly came out through the main exit or one side entrance; the other side and back of the building were destroyed.

The Associated Press also denies Russiaʼs allegations that the theater was destroyed by Ukrainian defense forces or served as a military base for them. None of the witnesses saw the Ukrainian military operating inside the building.