Most Civilians Left Mariupol Drama Theater Before Explosion in March, DPR Investigator Says

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DONETSK (Sputnik) – There were actually no civilians left in the Mariupol drama theater by the time of the devastating explosion in March, Aleksei Kutsurbenko, a Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) investigator, told Sputnik.

“If at once there were a large number of civilians, as eyewitnesses show us, then, closer to the day of the tragedy, there were actually no civilians left in the drama theater. Yes, as we have established, there was a food and humanitarian aid distribution point, and civilians came and ate there, but there were a small number of them,” Kutsurbenko said.

The drama theater building was used not only by civilians as a bomb shelter, but also by the Ukrainian military, who set up firing points there, the official added.

In March, Ukraine claimed that a Russian airstrike leveled a drama theater in Mariupol that was allegedly being used as a bomb shelter. The allegations were dismissed by the Russian Defense Ministry. Kutsurbenko told Sputnik that Kiev’s claims are “a lie and a fake,” as the blast was initiated inside.

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