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March 19, 2023 Russia-Ukraine information

A lady who survived final yr’s bombing of a packed theater in Mariupol likened Putin’s in a single day go to to the Russian-occupied metropolis to “when a serial killer returns to the place of the crime.”

CNN’s Ivan Watson beforehand spoke to Maria Kutnyakova in March final yr, after she managed to flee Mariupol to Ukrainian-controlled territory along with her household.

Talking with Watson once more by telephone Sunday, Kutnyakova mentioned Putin had visited Mariupol at evening “as a result of they didn’t need to shoot the actual footage of the destroyed metropolis.”

“They didn’t need to present that Mariupol remains to be a disaster. There are quite a lot of destroyed buildings. That individuals reside in a nasty state of affairs,” mentioned Kutnyakova, who now works on-line for a Ukrainian NGO from the protection of Vilnius, Lithuania.

“Russian propaganda confirmed this picture of some buildings that they constructed. They need to let folks imagine that in Mariupol now may be very good, stunning place. But it surely’s not,” Kutnyakova mentioned.

She informed CNN costs in Mariupol are “loopy,” that folks within the metropolis haven’t any drugs or heating, and that issues stick with communications, electrical energy, water and gasoline.

Kutnyakova mentioned all 15 of her family and a number of other shut buddies who lived in Mariupol have left the town. She mentioned her household has been unable to find her uncle since final spring, they usually concern he could have died.

Concerning the bombing: About 300 folks died when Russian forces bombed the Donetsk Tutorial Regional Drama Theater in Mariupol, which had been functioning as a shelter for residents, in keeping with metropolis leaders.

The March 16, 2022, bombing was among the many most brazen of Russia’s assaults on civilians in its preliminary offensive.

Earlier than the assault, the phrase “CHILDREN” had been painted on the bottom exterior the constructing in large Russian letters. As many as 1,300 folks have been sheltering inside.

Russia denied its forces hit the theater, claiming a regiment in Ukraine’s military had blown it up. Moscow made comparable claims — with out offering proof — concerning the bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol that occurred a few week prior.

The southeastern metropolis has been beneath Russian management since Might 2022.

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