Survivors were emerging Thursday from the wreckage of a Mariupol theater largely destroyed one day earlier, according to reports from local officials — offering a glimmer of hope as the civilian toll in Ukraine mounts.

City officials said the theater was hit by a Russian airstrike; Moscow has denied responsibility. The mayor of the besieged southern Ukrainian port city called it “another tragedy, in our already mangled Mariupol, of which there is already practically nothing left,” in a video posted on Telegram.

Still, Serhiy Taruta, a Ukrainian politician, described some “good news” as he said many were starting to emerge alive from the rubble. A lawmaker from Odessa said on Telegram that a bomb shelter in the basement of the theater had withstood attacks and “people are coming out of the shelter alive and well!” Details were still emerging and casualty numbers remain unclear.

Mariupol, which has been a site of continued devastation, is among several cities in Ukraine weathering a severe assault as Moscow’s military advances have been slowed or thwarted and its forces pound cities from afar. New satellite images, of cities such as Kharkiv and Sumy, have revealed landscapes of flattened buildings or neighborhoods on fire. In the northern city of Chernihiv, where heavy fighting has been ongoing for weeks, morgues on Wednesday received the bodies of at least 53 civilians killed by Russia, a local official said.

Here’s what to know

  • Ukrainian officials announced nine humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to flee besieged cities Thursday, as well as plans to deliver aid to places in need — a day after they said escape routes were being targeted by Russian forces.
  • The Pentagon will expand the size and scope of weaponry being rushed to Ukraine, the Biden administration said, including for the first time armed drones capable of inflicting significant damage on Russian ground units.
  • Britain’s Defense Ministry said Thursday morning that Russia’s invasion has “largely stalled on all fronts.” London also said Russian forces have used up more sophisticated weapons than planned and are now “resorting to the use of older, less precise weapons.”
  • The U.N. Security Council will hold an emergency meeting Thursday on the situation in Ukraine….

Exactly three weeks since their invasion of Ukraine began, Russian forces are fighting to press forward in major cities across the country. Here are key updates on some of those places:

  • Kyiv: Russian fire hit several residences in the Podil neighborhood early Thursday, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko told the Associated Press, less than two miles from the presidential palace and office. No details were provided about whether the attack caused any deaths or injuries, AP reported. As Kyiv’s two-day curfew lifted, fighting continued in the capital’s suburbs, where many people are seeking shelter but lack heat and water.
  • Kharkiv: More than 600 buildings have been destroyed in Ukraine’s second-largest city, home to 1.4 million people, Reuters reported, citing the mayor. Shelling has destroyed residences, schools, nurseries, art museums and government buildings in a city famed for its architecture.
  • Mariupol: A Russian airstrike hit Mariupol’s Drama Theater on Wednesday, destroying the cultural site that had doubled up as a shelter for residents, as Russian forces lay siege to the city. Reports of survivors were emerging Thursday, as the mayor called the strike a “terrible tragedy.” Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said humanitarian corridors would be established to help evacuate civilians from Mariupol and nearby areas.