30 evacuees killed by a missile in Ukraine In this still shot from a video posted on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Telegram channel, smoke rises from the railway station in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, on Friday, April 8, 2022, following Russian shelling. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Telegram channel, as reported by the Associated Press
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In this still shot from a video posted on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Telegram channel, smoke rises from the railway station in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, on Friday, April 8, 2022, following Russian shelling. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s Telegram channel, as reported by THENIGERIAFM
KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The Ukrainian capital is preparing to host the World Cup. In eastern Ukraine, a missile was fired at a crowded train station that served as an evacuation point for civilians, killing dozens of people, Ukrainian authorities said Friday, after warning that they expected even more evidence of war crimes in areas of the country previously controlled by Russian troops.
A missile struck the train station, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who stated that thousands of people were present at the time. The Russian Defense Ministry denied that the station in Kramatorsk, a city in the eastern Donetsk region, had been targeted, but Zelenskyy accused Russia of being responsible for the deaths that were found in what appeared to be an outside waiting area.
It appears that the inhumane Russians have not changed their techniques. They are cynically harming the civilian population because they lack the strength or courage to face up to us on the battlefield,” the president wrote on social media. “This is an evil that knows no bounds. Moreover, if it is not penalized, it will continue indefinitely.”
Afterwards, the regional governor of Donetsk, Pavlo Kyrylenko, stated that 39 people were killed and 87 others were injured in the conflict. According to the office of Ukraine’s prosecutor general, some 4,000 civilians were at and near the station, with the majority of them being women and children who had heeded warnings to leave before Russian military arrived.
Visiting Bucha, a village north of Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, where journalists and returning Ukrainians discovered hundreds of bodies on the streets and in mass graves after Russian troops departed, Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said, “The residents just wanted to get away for evacuation.”
Venediktova spoke as workers dragged bodies from a mass grave near a church in the midst of a torrential downpour. In the muck, rows of black corpse bags were put out in a neat line. She stated that none of the victims were Russians. The vast majority of them had been shot. The fatalities are being investigated by the Office of the Prosecutor General as suspected war crimes.
After failing to seize control of Ukraine’s capital and withdrawing from northern Ukraine, Russia has turned its attention to the Donbas, a predominantly Russian-speaking industrial region in eastern Ukraine where Moscow-backed insurgents have been fighting Ukrainian forces for eight years and have gained control of some territory. Located on government-controlled territory, the train station is a popular destination.
Earlier this week, Ukrainian officials issued a warning to inhabitants to evacuate as soon as possible to safer parts of the nation, noting that they and Russia had agreed to build multiple evacuation routes in the country’s eastern regions.
In his nightly video address, Zelenskyy predicted more gruesome discoveries would be made in northern cities and towns as the Russians depart. He said horrors worse than the ones in Bucha already had surfaced in Borodyanka, another settlement outside the capital.
“And what will happen when the world learns the whole truth about what the Russian troops did in Mariupol?” Zelenskyy said late Thursday, referring to the besieged southern port that has seen some of the greatest suffering during Russia’s invasion. “There, on every street, is what the world saw in Bucha and other towns in the Kyiv region….The same cruelty. The same terrible crimes.”
The prosecutor general also expressed concern about the death toll in Borodyanka, where the process of retrieving bodies from shelled and collapsed buildings has just begun. Twenty-six bodies were found Thursday from the ruins of just two buildings, Venediktova said.
“We don’t know what’s under these houses,” she said, estimating it could take two weeks to find out.
Spurred by reports that Russian forces committed atrocities in areas surrounding the capital, NATO nations agreed to increase their supply of arms after Ukraine’s foreign minister pleaded for weapons from the alliance and other sympathetic countries to help face down an expected offensive in the east.
Bucha Mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk said investigators found at least three sites of mass shootings of civilians during the Russian occupation. Most victims died from gunshots, not from shelling, he said, and some corpses with their hands tied were “dumped like firewood” into mass graves, including one at a children’s camp.
Fedoruk said 320 civilians were confirmed dead as of Wednesday, but he expected more as bodies are found in the city that was home to 50,000 people. Only 3,700 remain, he said.
Ukrainian and several Western leaders have blamed the massacres on Moscow’s troops. The weekly magazine Der Spiegel reported Germany’s foreign intelligence agency intercepted radio messages among Russian soldiers discussing killings of civilians. Russia has falsely claimed that the scenes in Bucha were staged.
In a rare acknowledgment of the war’s cost to Russia, a Kremlin spokesman said Thursday that the country has suffered major troop causalities during its six-week military operation in Ukraine.
“Yes, we have significant losses of troops and it is a huge tragedy for us,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told British broadcaster Sky.
Peskov also hinted the fighting might be over “in the foreseeable future,” telling Sky that Russian troops were “doing their best to bring an end to that operation.”
Asked about his remarks Friday, Peskov said his reference to troop losses was based on the most recent Russian Defense Ministry numbers. The ministry reported on March 25 that a total of 1,351 Russian troops had been killed in Ukraine.
“It is a significant number,” Peskov said during his daily conference call with reporters.
In anticipation of intensified attacks by Russian forces, hundreds of Ukrainians fled villages in the Mykolaiv and Kherson regions that were either under attack or occupied.
Marina Morozova and her husband fled from Kherson, the first major city to fall to the Russians.
“They are waiting for a big battle. We saw shells that did not explode. It was horrifying,” she said.
Morozova, 69, said only Russian television and radio was available. The Russians handed out humanitarian aid, she said, and filmed the distribution.
Anxious to keep moving away from Russian troops, the couple and others boarded a van that would take them west. Some will try to leave the country, while others will remain in quieter parts of Ukraine.
On Thursday, a day after Russian forces began shelling their village in the southern Mykolaiv region, Sergei Dubovienko, 52, drove north in his small blue Lada with his wife and mother-in-law to Bashtanka, where they sought shelter in a church.
“They started destroying the houses and everything” in Pavlo-Marianovka, he said. “Then the tanks appeared from the forest. We thought that in the morning there would be shelling again, so I decided to leave.”
The U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, said that more than 4.3 million, half of them children, have left Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion on Feb. 24 and sparked Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II. The International Organization for Migration estimates more than 12 million people are stranded in areas of Ukraine under attack.
The United Nations’ humanitarian chief told The Associated Press he was “not optimistic” about securing a cease-fire after meeting with officials in Kyiv and in Moscow this week, given the lack of trust between the sides. He spoke hours after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused Ukraine of backtracking on proposals it had made over Crimea and Ukraine’s military status.
Two top European Union officials and the prime minister of Slovakia traveled to Kyiv on Friday, looking to shore up the EU’s support for Ukraine. Prime Minister Eduard Heger said he, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell brought trade and humanitarian aid proposals for Zelenskyy and his government.
Part of that, Heger says is “to offer options for transporting grains, including wheat.” Ukraine is a major world wheat supplier and Russia’s war on Ukraine is creating shortages, notably in the Middle East.
Western nations have stepped up sanctions against Russia following the alleged atrocities found on the outskirts of Kyiv. A day after the United States imposed sanctions on President Vladimir Putin’s two adult daughters, the European Union and Britain followed suit Friday.
The U.S. Congress voted to suspend normal trade relations with Russia and ban the importation of its oil, while the EU approved an embargo on coal imports. The U.N. General Assembly, meanwhile, voted to suspend Russia from the world organization’s leading human rights body.
U.S. President Joe Biden said the U.N. vote demonstrated how “Putin’s war has made Russia an international pariah.” He called the images coming from Bucha “horrifying.”
“The signs of people being raped, tortured, executed — in some cases having their bodies desecrated — are an outrage to our common humanity,” Biden said.