The Russian strike on the drama theater in Mariupol, which killed about 600 people, is a war crime. This conclusion was reached by the international human rights organization Amnesty International during the investigation.
The organization released a report, "Children: Attack on the Donetsk Regional Academic Drama Theater in Mariupol, Ukraine," which reveals how the Russian military deliberately shelled the theater despite knowing hundreds of civilians were hiding there. Amnesty International also interviewed civilian survivors and collected digital evidence. Among other things, the human rights organization commissioned the physicist to build a mathematical model of the explosion in order to determine the mass of explosive that would be required to cause such destruction. He concluded that the Russian fighter dropped two 400–800 kg bombs that exploded simultaneously. Most likely, the strikes were carried out by Su-25, Su-30 or Su-34 fighters, which were based at nearby Russian airfields and often operated over southern Ukraine.
Amnesty International Secretary-General Agnès Callamard said the International Criminal Court should investigate the crime.
“After several months of careful investigation, analysis of satellite imagery and interviewing dozens of witnesses, we have come to the conclusion that the strike was a clear war crime committed by Russian forces. Many people were injured and killed as a result of this relentless attack. Their deaths were likely caused by a deliberate attack by Russian troops on civilians in Ukraine. The International Criminal Court and all other bodies with jurisdiction over crimes committed during this conflict should investigate this attack as a war crime. All those responsible must be held accountable for the death and destruction."
On March 16, Russian aircraft attacked the Donetsk Academic Regional Drama Theater in Mariupol. Associated Press journalists who interviewed eyewitnesses concluded that about 600 people died as a result of the strike. In order to estimate the number of victims, the news agency also used two plans of the theater premises, photographs and videos that were taken both before and after the airstrike, and the conclusions of experts. Before that, the authorities of Mariupol came to the conclusion that 300 people were killed during the bombing of the theater: this figure was given by two surviving witnesses. Due to the inability to find the remains of those who died after a powerful explosion, a police officer and a Red Cross employee concluded that there were fewer than 500 victims. AP suggests that Russian military troops who occupied the territory of Mariupol could have removed some of the human remains from the airstrike site.