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Ukrainian war: Dozens of evacuees were killed at the station

Photographs taken at the scene show the remains of a rocket with the words “For Children” in Russian.

CHERNIHIV, Ukraine – A rocket hit a crowded train station in eastern Ukraine, evacuating civilians, killing dozens, and Ukrainian officials have warned they will find more evidence of possible war crimes in previously detained areas of the country. by Russian troops.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said thousands of people were waiting at the station to board trains when the rocket was fired. Photographs taken at the scene show tarpaulin-covered bodies on the ground and the remains of a rocket with the words “For Children” in Russian.

Russia’s Defense Ministry has denied an attack on a station in the eastern city of Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast, but Zelensky and other Ukrainian leaders have accused the Russian military of deliberately targeting only civilian gatherings.

“Inhumane Russians do not change their methods. “Without the strength and courage to stand up to us on the battlefield, they shamelessly destroy the civilian population,” he said on social media. “It simply came to our notice then. If he is not punished, he will never stop. “

Donetsk Oblast Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said 39 people had been killed and 87 injured. The Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office said there were about 4,000 civilians at and around the station, most of them women and children, who listened to Russian calls to leave the area before launching a large-scale attack.

Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova said during a visit to the Ukrainian city of Bucha, north of Kiev: “People just wanted to flee for evacuation. Journalists and returning Ukrainians found many bodies on the streets and in mass graves after the withdrawal of Russian troops.

Venediktova spoke as workers removed bodies from a mass grave near the church in the spitting rain. Black corpse bags were lined up in the mud. He said none of the dead were Russians. Most of them were shot. The Prosecutor General’s Office is investigating the deaths and other mass casualties involving civilians as possible war crimes.

Unable to capture the Ukrainian capital and withdraw from northern Ukraine, Russia has turned its attention to Donbas, a predominantly Russian-speaking industrial region in eastern Ukraine where Moscow-backed rebels have fought Ukrainian forces for eight years and controlled some areas. The train station is located in a government-controlled area.

Ukrainian officials this week warned residents to go to safer areas of the country as soon as possible, and said they and Russia had agreed to create multiple evacuation routes in the east.

One analyst said that only Russia would have a basis to attack civilian railway infrastructure in the Donbas, and that Ukraine would not deliberately kill its own civilians in a “war of survival.”

“The Ukrainian army is desperately trying to strengthen its units in the region … and the railway stations in the area under Ukrainian control are very important for the movement of equipment and people,” said Castin Bronk, a researcher at the Royal United Services Institute. London.

Elsewhere in the Donbas, Luhansk Governor Serhiy Haydai said Russia was mobilizing equipment and troops to help them advance, increasing fire and bombardment.

“We feel the end of preparations for this great leap, for the great battle that will take place around us, in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions,” he said in a televised speech.

In a video message at night, Zelensky said that Borodyanka, another settlement outside the capital, was more horrified than Bucha.

“But what will happen when the world learns the whole truth about what the Russian troops did in Mariupol?” Zelensky said on Thursday, referring to the besieged southern port, which witnessed the greatest suffering during the Russian occupation. “Every street has something they see in the world in Bucha and other cities in the Kyiv region … The same cruelty. The same horrible crimes. “

The prosecutor general also expressed concern over the death toll in Borodyanka, which has just begun the process of removing bodies from shelling and destroyed buildings. Venediktova said that 26 bodies were found in the ruins of only two buildings on Thursday.

“We don’t know what’s under these houses,” he said, adding it could take two weeks to find it.

NATO countries have agreed to increase arms supplies after the Ukrainian foreign minister called on the alliance and other sympathetic countries to help with the impending attack in the east, following reports that Russian forces were committing atrocities in areas surrounding the capital.

Ukrainian and Western leaders have blamed Moscow troops for the massacres. The weekly Der Spiegel reported that Germany’s foreign intelligence service had listened to radio messages discussing the killing of civilians among Russian soldiers. Russia has falsely claimed that the scenes in Bucha were staged.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who rarely acknowledged the cost of the war to Russia, told Britain’s Sky News on Thursday that the country had suffered significant military losses, calling it a “tragedy.”

He told reporters on Friday that his reference to military casualties was based on the latest figures released by the Russian Defense Ministry on March 25 that 1,351 Russian servicemen had been killed in Ukraine. NATO estimates that Russia’s losses are several times higher.

Hundreds of Ukrainians have fled either under attack or occupied villages in the Nikolaev and Kherson regions on the eve of intense Russian attacks.

Marina Morozova and her husband fled Kherson, the first major city to fall to the Russians.

“A great battle awaits them. We saw unexploded ordnance. It was terrible, “he said.

Morozova, 69, said only Russian television and radio were available. According to him, the Russians distributed humanitarian aid and filmed the distribution

The United Nations estimates that more than 4.3 million people have fled Ukraine since the start of the war, leaving more than 12 million stranded in the affected areas.

On Thursday, a day after Russian forces began firing on villages in the southern Nikolaev region, 52-year-old Sergei Dubovienko and his wife and mother-in-law traveled north to Bashtanka in a small blue Lada, where they sought refuge in a church.

In Pavlo-Marianovka, he said, “they started destroying houses and everything.” “Then tanks appeared from the forest. We thought there would be another shell in the morning, so I decided to go. “

Two high-ranking EU officials and the Prime Minister of Slovakia visited Kiev on Friday to strengthen EU support for Ukraine. Prime Minister Edward Heger, along with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, said he had made trade and humanitarian aid proposals for Zelensky and his government.

Heger also announced that his country had donated a Soviet-era S-300 air defense system to Ukraine.

In a video interview with US lawmakers in March, Zelensky called for anti-aircraft systems that would allow Ukraine to “close the skies” for Russian fighter jets and missiles, citing S-300s.

Western nations have tightened sanctions on Russia following reports of atrocities near Kyiv. The European Union and Britain took the same step on Friday, a day after the United States imposed sanctions on two adult daughters of President Vladimir Putin.

US President Joe Biden said the UN vote “demonstrated how Putin’s war has turned Russia into an international party.”

“The signs of rape, torture, and executions – in some cases the contamination of their bodies – are an insult to our common humanity,” Biden said.

Schreck reported from Kiev, Ukraine. Associated Press journalists from around the world contributed to the report.

Ukrainian war: Dozens of evacuees were killed at the station

Source link Ukrainian war: Dozens of evacuees were killed at the station

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