(Tim Lister’s, Olga Voitovych’s, Tara John’s, and Paul P. Murphy’s article appeared on CNN, 3/16; Photo: The Drama Theater in Mariupol, where hundreds were taking refuge, sustained heavy damage in a bombing on Wednesday, authorities said.)

Lviv, Ukraine (CNN)A theater where hundreds of people had taken shelter in Mariupol was bombed on Wednesday, according to local authorities, as hundreds of thousands of people remain trapped in the coastal Ukrainian city that has been encircled for weeks by Russian forces.

Mariupol City Council, who shared an image of the destroyed building, said Russian forces had “purposefully and cynically destroyed the Drama Theater in the heart of Mariupol.”

“The plane dropped a bomb on a building where hundreds of peaceful Mariupol residents were hiding,” it said.

CNN has geolocated the image and confirmed it is of the theater in the southeastern port city. The word “children” was spelled out on two sides of the theater before it was bombed, according to satellite images.

Videos of the aftermath showed a fire raging in the theater’s ruins. The number of casualties is unknown, authorities said.

“It is still impossible to estimate the scale of this horrific and inhumane act, because the city continues to shell residential areas,” the council wrote on Telegram. “It is known that after the bombing, the central part of the Drama Theater was destroyed, and the entrance to the bomb shelter in the building was destroyed,” it added.

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