Missiles hit Ukrainian train station as civilians wait to evacuate: governor

Kyiv: Ukrainian authorities say a rocket strike killed more than 30 people and wounded at least 100 at a train station that was being used to evacuate civilians in eastern Ukraine on Friday.

Kramatorsk railway station after a missile is reported to have hit it on Friday.Credit:Twitter

The head of Ukraine’s railways, Olexander Kamyshin, said on the messaging app Telegram that the strike happened in Kramatorsk, a city in the Donetsk region.

It said two Russian rockets had struck the station, which was being used to evacuate civilians from areas under bombardment.

“According to operational data, more than 30 people were killed and more than 100 were wounded in the rocket attack on Kramatorsk railway station,” the Ukrainian Railways said in a statement.

Regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said thousands of people were at the train station at the time of the strike, preparing to evacuate to safer regions as Russia focuses its troops in eastern Ukraine.

“The ‘Rashists’ (‘Russian fascists’) knew very well where they were aiming and what they wanted: they wanted to sow panic and fear, they wanted to take as many civilians as possible,” he said.

Kyrylenko published a photograph online showing several bodies on the ground beside piles of suitcases and other luggage. Armed police wearing flak jackets stood beside them.

Another photo showed rescue services tackling what appeared to be a fire, with a pall of grey smoke rising into the air.

Three trains carrying evacuees were blocked in the same region of Ukraine on Thursday after an air strike on the line, according to local authorities.

Kramatorsk as come under heavy bombardment for more than a month now. This photo was taken near the airport on March 13.Credit:Kate Geraghty

Ukrainian officials say Russian forces have been regrouping for a new offensive, and that Moscow plans to seize as much territory as it can in the eastern region of Donbas.

Local authorities in some areas have been urging civilians to leave while it is still possible and relatively safe to do so.

Reuters could not verify reports of the missile strike.

Russia did not immediately comment on the reports of the attack or on the casualty toll, but Russian state media on Friday was broadcasting the story, saying the attack had been staged by Ukraine.

Moscow has denied targeting civilians since invading Ukraine on February 24.

AP, Reuters

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