Russian Jets Bomb Ukrainian Art School Sheltering About 400 People

Russia Bombing of Ukraine
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The Mayor of Mariupol, Vadym Boychenko, says there is no word yet on the number of casualties.

An art school sheltering about 400 people in Ukraine’s port city of Mariupol was bombed Saturday by Russian jets. The Mayor of Mariupol, Vadym Boychenko, says there is no word yet on the number of casualties. 

Petro Andrushenko, an advisor to the mayor of Mariupol wrote on his Telegram channel, "So far, there is no exact operational data on how many people were hiding in the shelter or the number of casualties. I expect we will have it later today. But the situation is difficult and there is nowhere to get the data from."

Officials say the school was sheltering women, children and the elderly who may be trapped under rubble.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Sunday that he is ready to negotiate with Russian President Valdimir Putin, adding that he has been ready to do so for the last two years. 

“If there’s just 1% chance for us to stop this war, I think that we need to take this chance. We need to do that. I can tell you about the result of this negotiations — in any case, we are losing people on a daily basis, innocent people on the ground," Zelenskyy told CNN.

Zelenskyy also told CNN that if Ukraine were already a member of NATO, Russia would have never attacked the country. 

After appealing to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization–a military alliance of now 30 countries formed in 1949 including the U.S. and Canada–Zelenskyy said he had not received a clear answer on whether Ukraine could join. "The response was very clear, you're not going to be a NATO member, but publicly, the doors will remain open," he said.

NATO was formed during the Cold War to deter Russia from expanding in Europe.

In 2008, NATO offered membership to Ukraine. Joining NATO became a priority of Ukraine in 2014 after Russia annexed Crimea. According to the BBC, it did not join because of Russia’s opposition to the move.