Ukraine says Russian strike on train station leaves dozens dead trying to flee

Dozens of people were killed and around 100 injured on Friday in a Russian rocket attack on the Kramatorsk train stationone of the most easterly stations still in operation in Ukraine, Ukrainian officials said. The station was used to evacuate civilians from the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine. At least five children were killed in the attack, according to the local governor.

REMARK: This article contains disturbing images of victims killed and injured in Kramatorsk.

“Lacking strength and courage to stand our ground on the battlefield, [the Russians] cynically destroy the civilian population,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. “It is an evil that has no limits. And if it is not punished, it will never stop.

Ukrainian servicemen carry a victim to be placed next to other wounded after a shelling of the train station in the eastern city of Kramatorsk, in the Donbass region, on April 8, 2022.

Hervé Bar/AFP/Getty

About 4,000 people, mostly women and children, were at the station at the time of the attack, the mayor of Kramatorsk said. Graphic images shared on social media appeared to show a number of victims in civilian clothes. At least 52 people were killed, Ukrainian authorities said, according to The Associated Press.

“This is a deliberate strike against the railway passenger infrastructure and the residents of Kramatorsk,” the head of the country’s national railways, Alexander Kamyshin, wrote on social media.

UKRAINE-RUSSIA-CONFLICT
Ukrainian police inspect the remains of a large rocket with the words ‘for children’ in Russian next to the main building of a train station in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, which was used for civilian evacuations, which was hit by a rocket attack killing at least 35 people on April 8, 2022.

Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty

Ukrainian security forces were seen inspecting the remains of a missile opposite the station after the attack. The missile carcass had the phrase “for children” written in Russian on the side. The specific Russian phrase has a meaning closer to “on behalf of children” or “in retaliation for an attack on children”, rather than “targeting children”.

Russia has denied carrying out the attack, blaming it on Ukraine’s own forces.

“All statements by representatives of the nationalist regime in Kyiv about the ‘rocket attack’ allegedly carried out by Russia on April 8 at the railway station in the city of Kramatorsk are a provocation and are absolutely false,” the official said. Russian Defense Ministry.

UKRAINE-RUSSIA-CONFLICT
Ukrainian servicemen check for signs of life among the injured lying on the platform following a rocket attack on the train station in the eastern city of Kramatorsk, Donbass region, on April 8, 2022.

ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP via Getty Images

Officials have been warned that Russia would withdraw its troops from other parts of Ukraine and intensify its attacks on the eastern region of Donbass, and that civilians rushed to evacuate the area.

“We’re going to concentrate a lot of forces there,” Nick Reynolds, land warfare research analyst at the Royal United Services Institute, a defense and security think tank, told CBS News.

How quickly the West can send military aid to help Ukraine will make a big difference in the country’s ability to delay another Russian advance from the east.

“We’re in a bit of an awkward position right now to support Ukraine because a lot of the stuff that’s pretty easy to transfer and put on the ground…those stocks have gone down,” Reynolds said.

Larger systems that would be useful to Ukraine, such as the S-300, are more difficult to transport and will take time to arrive at the front.

“To some extent, this next month will decide a lot of things. The battle for Mariupol will significantly shape the political situation: what is possible and what is not possible both for Ukrainians and the international community and for Russia,” Reynolds told CBS News. He said if the Russians are able to take the southeastern city of Mariupol, their strategic objectives will become much more viable.

“But also, for the international community, it’s very important,” Reynolds said. “Because we don’t really have any options to de-escalate – any sort of politically or morally acceptable options to de-escalate with Russia, or to return to any even partial normalization of relations under a negotiated settlement – if Russia controls major population centers like that.


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James H. Wright