Civilians fleeing Mariupol describe street fighting; fate of those in bombed theatre, art school remains unknown

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LVIV – Civilians fleeing dangerously from Ukraine’s embattled southern port hub of Mariupol describe their escape through street gunfights and unburied corpses as steady Russian bombardment attempts to bring the city down.

“There are no buildings anymore,” said Maria Fiodorova, 77, who crossed the border to Poland after a five-day trip.

Olga Nikitina, who fled Mariupol for the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, said gunfire blew her windows and her apartment dropped below freezing.

“The fighting was on every street. Every house was targeted,” she said.

A woman named Yulia said she and her family sought refuge in Bezimenne after bombing destroyed six houses behind her home.

“That’s why we got in the car, at our own risk, and left in 15 minutes because everything was destroyed there, there were bodies all over the place,” she said. “They didn’t let us go anywhere – there were shootings everywhere.”

The fate of those inside an art school was razed on Sunday as communications were cut, movement was restricted and many residents went into hiding, with the theater that was bombed four days ago unclear. More than 1,300 people are believed to have taken refuge in theaters and an estimated 400 are enrolled in art schools.

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