Ukrainian authorities said at least 39 people were killed in a missile attack on a railway station in eastern Ukraine on Friday.
Two Russian missiles hit the train station in the city of Kramatorsk in Donetsk Oblast on Friday morning, according to the state-owned Ukrainian Railways, which in a statement via Facebook described the attack as a “deliberate strike on the passenger infrastructure of the railways and the rail population of the city of Kramatorsk.”
By Friday afternoon, Donetsk State Governor Pavlo Kirilenko confirmed that the death toll had risen from 30 39. He said in a statement via Telegram that 87 others were injured, many of them seriously. The number of injured decreased from previous estimates of more than 100.
The attack took place while “thousands” of civilians fleeing the Russian invasion were at a train station waiting to be transferred to “more secure areas of Ukraine,” according to Kirilenko, who accused Russian forces of “deliberately trying to disrupt the evacuation of civilians.”
“The evacuation will continue,” the governor added. Whoever wants to leave the area will be able to do so.”
Graphic images provided by Ukrainian officials showed the aftermath of the attack – bodies lying on the ground next to scattered luggage, wreckage and charred vehicles parked nearby. The remains of a large missile with the words “For our children” written on its side in Russian were also seen on the ground next to the station’s main building. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a Facebook statement that a Tochka-U short-range ballistic missile was used in Friday’s attack.
Earlier this week, large crowds of people were seen waiting on the sidewalk to board trains at Kramatorsk railway station as they fled the city in the disputed Donbass region of Ukraine.
Since 2014, Russian-backed separatist forces have controlled two separatist republics of Donetsk and Luhansk states in the Donbass. The separatists were fighting alongside Russian forces to seize more territory there, after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24. And now, the Russian army is said to be refocusing its offensive in Donbass while withdrawing its forces from northern Ukraine.