About 1,300 remained trapped in the basement of the theater, Lyudmyla Denisova said. She said it was difficult to be certain of the number of survivors and she declined to confirm any casualties.
“We hope that they will be alive but as of now we have no information about them,” she said during a local television interview.
An assistant for Mariupol Mayor Vadim Boychenko declined to comment on the theater rescue effort or provide casualty figures.
Efforts to sort through the wreckage and rescue any survivors are being hampered by the fact rescue services have been decimated by the attack on the city.
Getting medical treatment to those injured could be difficult, because “a lot of doctors have been killed,” said former governor Sergiy Taruta in a statement overnight.
Ukrainian civilians sought shelter at the theater as Mariupol has been the target of relentless shelling by Russian forces seeking to advance along Ukraine’s southern coast.
Moscow has long coveted Mariupol for its strategic location 35 miles west of the Russian border on the Azov Sea. Russia’s Defense Ministry denied its forces conducted an airstrike on the theater.
Elsewhere in Ukraine, Russian missiles hit an aircraft-repair facility in the western part of the country on Friday, striking a long-range target far from the battlefield while attacks continued on other cities.
The Ukrainian Air Force said six cruise missiles were fired from the Black Sea. Two were intercepted, preventing them from reaching the target near the airport in the western city of Lviv.
A building was destroyed, according to Lviv’s mayor, Andriy Sadovyi, who said work at the facility had been suspended before the strike. One person was wounded, and rescue workers were on site putting out fire, said Maksym Kozytskyi, the head of the Lviv regional military administration.
The attack near Lviv comes less than a week after a Russian airstrike on a Ukrainian military training center in a western area about 10 miles from the Polish border. Lviv is about 50 miles from the border. Polish immigration authorities said Friday that the number of people who have fled Ukraine for Poland has now surpassed two million.
Most of the fighting between the invading Russian forces and Ukrainian troops has been concentrated further east and south. In the eastern city of Kramatorsk, at least one missile hit a residential building overnight, killing two people and wounding 16, said Pavlo Kyrlyenko, head of the regional military administration in the eastern region of Donetsk.
The thud of artillery exchanges and small-arms fire was audible in the outskirts of the capital city of Kyiv overnight. A Russian rocket, reportedly shot down by Ukrainian air defense forces, landed in a downtown neighborhood, injuring a half dozen people who were cut by flying glass.
Standing by the crater next to scorched apartment blocks, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said one person had been killed and four children were among the wounded. “These are the results of this awful situation,” he said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his forces have taken Russian conscripts prisoner on the battlefield. Russia has made no effort to recover its prisoners of war, he said, and some of them are refusing to go back. In his nightly address Mr. Zelensky said he wouldn’t publicly discuss his strategy on cease-fire talks.
“Working more in silence than on television, radio or Facebook …I think this is right,” he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke Friday with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, asserting that Ukraine’s leadership was doing everything possible to delay talks on a cease-fire by “putting forward more and more unrealistic proposals,” according to the Kremlin’s account of the phone call.
“Nevertheless, the Russian side is ready to continue the search for solutions in line with its well-known principled approaches,” the readout said.
The call, which lasted just under an hour, focused on efforts to end the war in Ukraine, according to the German government. During the call, Mr. Scholz stressed the urgent need for a cease-fire, an improvement in the humanitarian situation, and progress in the search for a diplomatic solution to the conflict.
Mr. Zelensky spoke to Germany’s parliament on Thursday, his latest in a string of appeals to Western governments for more support, as European countries weighed sending more military equipment to Kyiv.
In the U.S., President Biden is speaking with China’s leader, Xi Jinping, on Friday, in an attempt to deter Beijing from deeper involvement with Moscow on its war effort.
“We believe China in particular has a responsibility to use its influence…to defend the international rules and principles that it professes to support,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday.
“Instead, we fear that China is moving in the opposite direction by refusing to condemn this aggression, while seeking to portray itself as a neutral arbiter,” Mr. Blinken said, adding that the U.S. is concerned that Beijing is considering “directly assisting Russia with military equipment to use in Ukraine.”
Australia also broadened its sanctions against Russia on Friday to include 11 additional banks and government entities, as well as billionaires Oleg Deripaska and Viktor Vekselberg. Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the majority of Russia’s banking assets were now covered by sanctions, as were all of the entities that handle Russia’s sovereign debt.
—Alan Cullison and Evan Gershkovich contributed to this article.
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