They thought they would be safe in the theater. Then it was bombed

Updated 12:57 PM ET, Mon March 21, 2022

Lviv, Ukraine (CNN) When Serhii woke up to news reports that a bomb had flattened Mariupol's Drama Theater, where hundreds of people had been sheltering, he couldn't breathe.

His wife and their two daughters were inside.
A day before the attack, the 56-year-old editor, who lives in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, received a panicked call from his 30-year-old daughter.
He hadn't heard from her since March 1, when Russian forces intensified their siege of Mariupol, the strategic port city, launching a relentless barrage of rockets and bombs from land, sky and sea.
As electricity and internet service went out, Mariupol was largely cut off from the outside world. Serhii, who asked that only his first name be used for security reasons, waited desperately for any update from his girls.
In its absence, he had little choice but to rely on the grim picture of life and death being relayed by Mariupol officials: Residents were living in "medieval conditions," forced to melt snow for water and cook food outside on open fires. Civilian targets, including apartment buildings, a maternity hospital and the main administrative building, were reduced to rubble. Ceasefires were ignored and evacuation corridors blocked.