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Satellite photo shows word 'children' in front of now-destroyed Ukrainian theater

This photo, taken by Maxar Technologies’ WorldView-2 satellite on March 14, 2022, shows the world "children" written in front of and behind a theater in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol. According to news reports, the theater was bombed by Russian forces on March 16, 2022.
This photo, taken by Maxar Technologies’ WorldView-2 satellite on March 14, 2022, shows the world "children" written in front of and behind a theater in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol. According to news reports, the theater was bombed by Russian forces on March 16, 2022. (Image credit: Maxar Technologies)

A new Maxar Technologies satellite image of a now-destroyed theater in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol shows the word "children" in Russian (дети) written in front of and behind the building.

Ukrainian officials said that roughly 1,000 people were inside the Drama Theater of Mariupol during its destruction Wednesday (March 16), and it was unclear how many had survived, according to a Thursday (March 17) report in The New York Times (opens in new tab).

"Pavlo Kyrylenko, the top Ukrainian official in the Donetsk region, blamed a Russian airstrike for the destruction. Russia's Defense Ministry denied carrying out the attack," The Times wrote.

Mariupol has been besieged for weeks by Russian forces, and residents of the city are said to be lacking food, water, heat and electricity, according to numerous news reports. Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 to international condemnation, prompting the imposition of economic sanctions by the United States and other countries.

Related: Russia's invasion of Ukraine as seen in satellite photos
Live Updates: Russia's Ukraine invasion and space impacts

This satellite photo, taken on March 16, 2022 by Maxar Technologies' GeoEye-1 satellite, shows destroyed Russian helicopters at Kherson airfield in Ukraine.

This satellite photo, taken on March 16, 2022 by Maxar Technologies' GeoEye-1 satellite, shows destroyed Russian helicopters at Kherson airfield in Ukraine. (Image credit: Maxar Technologies)

Other satellite images from Maxar show damage in the Ukrainian cities of Sumy, Chernihiv and Kharkiv, as well as the destruction of several Russian helicopters at an airfield in Kherson.

Some images show rocket launchers and self-propelled artillery outside of Chernihiv, while other equipment, ground forces and helicopters have been spotted in southern Belarus.

Self-propelled Howitzers northeast of Chernihiv, Ukraine are visible in this satellite photo taken by Maxar Technologies' WorldView-2 satellite on March 16, 2022.

Self-propelled Howitzers northeast of Chernihiv, Ukraine are visible in this satellite photo taken by Maxar Technologies' WorldView-2 satellite on March 16, 2022. (Image credit: Maxar Technologies)

A British intelligence report noted that Russian troops are not making a lot of progress in the invasion of Ukraine, which has now stretched into its fourth week, The New York Times reported.

"Russian forces have made minimal progress on land, sea or air in recent days, and they continue to suffer heavy losses," said the intelligence assessment, which was published by Britain's Defense Ministry (opens in new tab).

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she also tackles topics like diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to help others explore the universe. Elizabeth's on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, three space shuttle missions in Florida, and embedded reporting from a simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Her latest book, Leadership Moments from NASA, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday.