Ukraine waits on Mariupol theater information — live updates

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  • Blast destroys Mariupol theater used as refuge for hundreds

  • Ukraine’s top prosecutor wants to see charges brought against ‘war criminal’ Putin

  • UN Security Council emergency meeting scheduled for later on Thursday
  • A Russian ballerina has quit Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater over the invasion

Catch up on yesterday’s events by clicking here.

This article was last updated at 03:25 UTC/GMT

Mariupol council will ‘never forgive’ theater attack

Ukraine claimed on Wednesday that Russia had destroyed a theater in the besieged port city of Mariupol. Russia disputed the claim, as it had with explosions last week at a maternity hospital, claiming that a Ukrainian nationalist regiment, the Azov Batallion, was behind the attack. 

A post on Telegram from the Mariupol local council appeared to suggest that as many as 1,000 people were sheltering inside. 

“Today, the invaders destroyed the Drama Theater. A place, where more than a thousand people found refuge. We will never forgive this,” the Mariupol local council said in a Telegram post.

The number of casualties from the incident is still not known.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister said that “the Russians could not have not known this was a civilian shelter. Satellite images of the building showed the words “children” written in Russian on either side of it, presumably in the hope that this could be seen by either pilots or artillery units.

Europeans are defying Putin by helping refugees, says migration expert

An expert on forced migration has told DW that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plan to “destabilize” Europe with an influx of refugees from war-torn Ukraine has failed. 

Gerald Knaus, chairman of the European Stability Initiative, said: “I am sure that Vladimir Putin had the intention these people would destabilize Europe. A large number of refugees would scare the Europeans. And it’s not happened. If the Europeans mobilize, they can defy his blackmail.”

To give an idea of the magnitude of the migration following the conflict, Knaus used the influx of refugees in Europe in 2015 as an example, where “the big refugee movement in the Aegean, saw 1 million people” coming “from Turkey to Greece in 1 year. Now, 1 million people come from Ukraine to the EU in 1 week.”

Russian ballerina quits Bolshoi Theater over invasion

Russian prima ballerina Olga Smirnova has quit Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater to join the Dutch National Ballet. She made the decision over “incredibly sad circumstances” in reference to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Smirnova took to Telegram earlier this month to say she was “against war with all the fibers of my soul.”

Ukraine prosecutor general seeks punishment for ‘war criminal’ Putin

Ukraine’s prosecutor general has welcomed the International Court of Justice’s ruling for Russia to “immediately suspend” military operations in Ukraine.

Iryna Veneditktova told DW it as an “important first step” for Ukraine though “we understand that such decisions cannot stop the war, can’t punish the people who are guilty in the deaths of Ukrainian citizens.”

The prosecutor wants to eventually see proceedings brought against Russian “soldiers, their top management, and the main war criminal of the 21st century — President Putin” over the “brutal and aggressive war.”

Japan: Sanctions on Russia needed

Japanese sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine are necessary, even if they squeeze energy supplies.

That is the view of Taro Kono, a former defense chief and ex-foreign minister. Kono says Japan may one day need to call on allies to help it counter China.

“We need to tell the people in Japan that in order to protect ourselves we need to help the others too,” Kono told the Reuters news agency. “If there is any aggression anywhere on this planet, we need to stop them.”

Japan sees neighboring China as its primary national security threat, followed by North Korea and Russia.

Summary of Wednesday’s events in Ukraine-Russia crisis

The United Kingdom, United States, Albania, France, Norway, and Ireland requested an emergency UN Security Council meeting, asking for it to take place on Thursday.

Ukraine accused Russia of bombing a theater in Mariupol. Hundreds of people were said to have been sheltering there at the time.

Prosecutors in France opened a war crime investigation into the death of Franco-Irish Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski.

The Kremlin said US President Joe Biden’s characterization of Russian leader Vladimir Putin as a war criminal was “unacceptable and unforgivable,” the Tass news agency reported.

Russia released Ivan Fedorov, the mayor of the southeastern Ukrainian city of Melitopol.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Europe would “suffer” over the sanctions it has imposed.

jsi/xx (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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