LVIV, Ukraine, March 22 — Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said today at least 100,000 civilians wanted to escape from Mariupol in southern Ukraine but could not because of a lack of safe corridors out of the besieged port city.

She said shelling by Russian forces was also preventing rescue workers from accessing the site of a bombed theatre in Mariupol where city officials say hundreds were believed to be sheltering underground when it was hit by an air strike last week.

Russia has denied bombing the theatre or attacking civilians. — Reuters