The heroic defense of Mariupol, an important port on the Sea of Azov, is a symbol of Ukraine’s struggle against the Russian aggressor. However, the price for independence has been high. To date, more than 20,000 of its defenders and civilians remain in Mariupol. Several thousand children have been deported deep into Russia. About 120 thousand residents (including women, children, the elderly, the sick and wounded) are on the verge of human survival, under constant shelling.
The tragic fate affects both the city’s inhabitants and its material heritage. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenski said in an interview that 95-98% of all buildings in Mariupol were destroyed as a result of the hostilities. Among them are temples of various faiths, museums, cultural and sports centers, historic houses and streets.
One of the most dramatic pages of the ongoing war was the bombing of the Donetsk Academic Regional Drama Theater by the Russians. This theater is an architectural monument, built in 1956-60 in the style of Soviet monumentalism. During the last weeks of its existence, it served as a shelter for civilians, including children. Despite its purpose, Russian troops deliberately shelled the building. The bombing killed about 300 people, and the historic building lay in ruins.
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