A Russian missile strike on a Ukrainian train station killed at least 50 civilians and wounded another 98 Friday.
At least five of the dead and at least 16 of the injured were children, the leader of the Donetsk regional administration, Pavlo Kyrylenko, confirmed in a tweet.
The Kramatorsk railway station in eastern Ukraine was flooded with nearly 4,000 people, many of them elderly, women, and children, trying to escape to less war-torn parts of the country at the time of the attack. About 8,000 people per day had been heading to the train station to evacuate in the last two weeks, the mayor of Kramatorsk said in a statement.
“This is another proof that Russia is brutally, barbarically killing the civilian Ukrainians, with one goal only — to kill,” he said. Russia has been conducting a bloody invasion of Ukraine for nearly two months, inflicting a high civilian and military death toll and widespread destruction.
Russia has refused to claim responsibility for the carnage, according to state-owned RIA news agency, Forbes reported.
Speaking to Finland’s parliament Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the “Russian military hit the railway terminal.”
“There are witnesses, there are videos, there are remnants of the missiles and dead people . . .” he said. “People [were] crowded waiting for the trains to be evacuated to the safe territory . . . Why do they need to hit civilians with missiles? Why this cruelty that the world has witnessed in Bucha and other cities liberated by the Ukrainian army?”
As Russia has started to intensify assaults in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian authorities have urged civilians to flee, warning that they will “not be able to help” them once fighting erupts, according to Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk. Russian forces are reportedly pulling out of northern Ukraine and around the capital Kyiv to launch offensives in the east.
Many members of the international community have accused Russia of perpetrating war crimes and atrocities in waging its war against Ukraine. Russia has allegedly bombed hospitals, orphanages, schools, and other civilian centers, killing many innocent women and children. Some evidence of executing and torturing civilians in parts of the country it has retreated from, such as Bucha, have surfaced. Russia has also refuted these allegations, blaming Ukraine for the conflict.