Russia 'bombs school sheltering 400 people' in Mariupol as Ukraine claims civilians forcibly taken

ITV News Correspondent Geraint Vincent reports on the latest strike on civilians in Ukraine

Authorities in the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol say that the Russian military has bombed an art school where about 400 people had taken refuge.

Local authorities said on Sunday morning that the school building had been destroyed and people could remain under the rubble. There was no immediate report on the number of casualties.

Mariupol council says women, children and the elderly were sheltering in the school at the time.

Photographs shared on social media, verified by ITV News, shows the roof of the building falling down and rubble beneath.

Russian forces earlier this week bombed a theatre in the besieged city, where civilians and children took shelter.

The encircled city has been left without energy, food and water supplies - all cut off by Russian forces - and faces relentless bombardment.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the siege of Mariupol would go down in history for what he said were war crimes committed by Russian troops.

"To do this to a peaceful city, what the occupiers did, is a terror that will be remembered for centuries to come," President Zelenskyy said in a video address to the nation.

The wreckage of a bombed out theatre in Mariupol which authorities say was housing civilians. Credit: Satellite image ©2022 Maxar Technologies via AP

Late on Saturday, Mariupol city council claimed Russian soldiers had forcibly relocated several thousand city residents, mostly women and children, to Russia.

The claims have not been confirmed but Mariupol's mayor put the figure at 3,000 to 5,000 people - who were taken to a camp before being redirected to "remote cities in Russia".

"Children, elderly people are dying. The city is destroyed and it is wiped off the face of the earth," Mariupol police officer Michail Vershnin said in a video address to Western leaders.

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Authorities in the city say nearly 40,000 people have fled over the past week, nearly 10% of its 430,000 population.

The city council said 39,426 residents have safely evacuated in their own vehicles. It said the evacuees used more than 8,000 vehicles to leave via a humanitarian corridor via Berdyansk to Zaporizhzhia.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, details began to emerge about a rocket attack that killed as many as 40 marines in the southern city of Mykolaiv, according to a Ukrainian military official who spoke to foreign media.

"It was an absolutely horrific scene that we found," he said. "The attack happened on Friday morning but for a whole day nobody here in Mykolaiv seemed to know about the attack."

"We discovered a massacre, soldiers were digging with their bare hands looking for the remains of their friends in the rubble".

ITV News Correspondent Geraint Vincent on the claims Ukrainian civilians have been forcibly removed from Mariupol

He reported an estimated 200 soldiers were believed to be sleeping in the barracks at the time of the strike.

Authorities in Ukraine’s eastern city of Kharkiv said at least five civilians were killed in the latest Russian shelling there.

Regional police in Ukraine’s second-largest city, said the victims of the Russian artillery attack early Sunday included a 9-year-old boy.

ITV News spoke to Robin Raemakers, foreign correspondent for VTM News Belgium, who has been at the scene of the attack

Despite the siege in Mariupol, many remained struck by Ukraine’s ability to hold back its much bigger, better-armed foe.

The British Ministry of Defence said Ukraine’s airspace continued to be effectively defended.

"Gaining control of the air was one of Russia’s principal objectives for the opening days of the conflict and their continued failure to do so has significantly blunted their operational progress," the MoD said on Twitter Sunday.

Russia is now relying on stand-off weapons launched from the relative safety of Russian airspace to strike targets within Ukraine, the ministry said.

The fighting has meant 10 million people have now been displaced across Ukraine, including around 3.4 million who have fled to neighbouring countries, according to the UN refugee agency.

On Sunday, the Russian military said it carried out a new series of strikes on Ukrainian military facilities with long-range hypersonic and cruise missiles - the second time such weapons have been used.

Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said the Kinzhal hypersonic missile hit a Ukrainian fuel depot in Kostiantynivka near the Black Sea port of Mykolaiv.

The strike marked the second day in a row that Russia used the Kinzhal, a weapon capable of striking targets 2,000km (1,250 miles) away at a speed 10 times the speed of sound.