Russians shelled a mosque where 80 people were sheltering in Mariupol, Ukraine says
LVIV, Ukraine — Russian forces pounding the port city of Mariupol shelled a mosque sheltering more than 80 people, including children, the Ukrainian government said Saturday as fighting also raged on the outskirts of the capital, Kyiv.
There was no immediate word of casualties from the shelling of the mosque. Mariupol has seen some of the greatest misery from Russia's war in Ukraine as unceasing barrages have thwarted repeated attempts to bring in food and water and to evacuate trapped civilians.
The Ukrainian Embassy in Turkey said that a group of 86 Turkish nationals, including 34 children, were among the people who had sought safety in the mosque of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and his wife Roksolana.
Elsewhere, air raid sirens rang out across the capital region and artillery barrages sent residents scurrying for shelter. Fighting erupted in multiple areas around Kyiv.
Russia's slow, grinding apparent attempt to encircle the city and the bombardment of other population centers with artillery and air strikes mirror tactics that Russian forces have previously used in other campaigns, notably in Syria and Chechnya, to crush armed resistance.
Artillery pounded Kyiv's northwestern outskirts. To the city's southwest, two columns of smoke – one black and one white — rose in the town of Vaslkyiv after a strike on an ammunition depot. The strike on the depot caused hundreds of small explosions from detonating ammunition.
As of Friday, the death toll in Mariupol passed 1,500 during 12 days of attack, the mayor's office said. A strike on a maternity hospital in the city of 446,000 this week that killed three people sparked international outrage and war-crime allegations.
The ongoing bombardment forced crews to stop digging trenches for mass graves, so the "dead aren't even being buried," the mayor said. An Associated Press photographer captured the moment when a tank appeared to fire directly on an apartment building, enveloping one side in a billowing orange fireball.