Russians host sick ‘sightseeing tours’ of theatre destroyed by Putin’s bombs

The Donetsk Regional Drama Theatre in Mariupol, which was bombed by Russian forces killing at least 600 civilians, has become a sick “tourist attraction,” according to local officials.

A video posted by Olena Halushka from Ukrainian anti-corruption organisation AntAC shows visitors walking through the ruins of the theatre, which was being used as a shelter for around 1,000 civilians when it was struck by Russian bombs on March 16.

Civilians sheltering inside had painted large white letters on the ground outside the theatre spelling out “CHILDREN” in Russian to deter bombers from attacking.

Only 200 are confirmed to have escaped the building’s destruction.

Survivor Oksana Syomina told CBS news: ”All the people are still under the rubble, because the rubble is still there – no one dug them up.

"This is one big mass grave,” she added.

Some of the “sightseers” seen in Olena Halushka’s video can be heard complaining in Russian about “the smell of bodies”.

“The only word to describe what has happened today is genocide, genocide of our nation, our Ukrainian people,” Mariupol’s mayor, Vadym Boychenko, said.

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After the shocking casualty figures emerged, Russia initially claimed that the theatre had been bombed because it was being used as a base by the Ukrainian military.

The Russian foreign ministry’s spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, said that Russia’s armed forces “don’t bomb towns and cities”.

A second official explanation from the Russians alleged that Ukraine’s notorious Azov Battalion had deliberately destroyed the building in a so-called “false flag” attack.

Both of these claims were late debunked by fact-checkers. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the Russian attack as “a war crime”.

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The UK government’s minister for Europe, James Cleverly, said the attack “looks to be specific targeting” of a civilian building and thus a “self-evident breach of international law”.

On May 11, Vadym Boichenko told reporters that over 21,000 civilians had been killed in the Russian bombardment of the city.

Russian Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu has since claimed that the city is completely under the control of Russian troops.

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