(Kramatorsk) At least 39 people including four children were killed in Friday’s missile attack on Kramatorsk train station in eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian security service (SBU) said, an “inhumane massacre denounced by President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“Russian fascists bombed Kramatorsk station, killing 39 including four children,” SBU spokesman Artyom Dekhtiarenko said on Facebook.
This bloody strike comes at a time when international outrage was already strong following images of atrocities of which the Russian army has been accused in localities from which it has withdrawn around Kyiv, the capital where senior European officials were expected to show their support for Ukraine in the face of the Russian invasion.
It was the train station in Kramatorsk, the “capital” of Donbass under Ukrainian control, which was the target of the attack. The emergency services had first mentioned at least 35 dead and 100 injured and AFP journalists on the spot saw at least 30 bodies in body bags in front of the station, used for the evacuation of civilians from the region. .
Abandoned suitcases littered the platforms and the surroundings of the station and the sidewalks were stained with traces of blood and on the forecourt in front of the station, the remains of a missile were still visible, on which one could read in Russian “For the children”. .
“I’m looking for my husband, he was there, I can’t reach him,” a woman, trembling and sobbing, told AFP, hesitating to approach the bodies, her phone glued to her ear.
President Zelensky denounced “unlimited evil” unleashed by Russia and “inhumane” methods.
“Without the strength and courage to face us on the battlefield, they cynically annihilate the civilian population. It is an evil that has no limit. And if he is not punished, he will never stop,” he wrote on Telegram.
EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, on his way to Kyiv with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, “strongly condemned” an “indiscriminate attack”.
Moscow immediately denied being responsible for the attack, claiming not to have the type of missile that would have been used, and denouncing a Ukrainian “provocation”.
An argument already used to deny accusations of atrocities and war crimes, in particular in Boutcha, 30 km north-west of Kyiv, bombarded then occupied for a month by Russian soldiers, and where dozens of corpses dressed in civilian clothes, some of them with their hands tied behind their backs, were discovered after their departure.
The Russian Ministry of Defense had indicated earlier Friday that the Russian army had destroyed with high precision missiles “arms and military equipment in the stations of Pokrovsk, Sloviansk and Barvinkove”, localities all located not far from Kramatorsk.
After withdrawing its troops from the Kyiv region and northern Ukraine, Russia has made the conquest of Donbass, part of which has been controlled since 2014 by pro-Russian separatists, its priority objective. It multiplies its attacks in the South and the East, the Ukrainian authorities trying hard to evacuate the civilians.
Evacuations by train, which had been interrupted due to the destruction of part of the railway, had resumed overnight from Thursday to Friday, according to the governor of the Luhansk region, Serguiï Gaïdaï, who had been encouraging for several days the inhabitants to part not to “condemn themselves to death”.
“Three evacuation trains carrying residents of the Luhansk and Donetsk region were able to leave for the west. The track has been repaired,” he said early Friday, before the attack on Kramastorsk station.
Russia and Ukraine still “agree” to meet in Turkey
Russia and Ukraine are still “agreeing” to meet for talks in Turkey despite recent abuses on the ground, a senior Turkish official said on Friday.
“Russia and Ukraine agree to hold talks in Turkey, but they remain far from agreeing on a common text,” the high-level official told reporters, declining to be named.
The question of the status of Crimea and Donbass remains difficult to decide, confirmed this same source, which did not advance a date concerning a possible new meeting on Turkish soil between the two parties.
The diplomatic aspect of the crisis between Russia and Ukraine shows no signs of progress.
Russia said on Thursday that Ukraine had backtracked on some of the proposals it made during talks in late March in Istanbul that Russia said it welcomed.
Turkey has twice hosted direct negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow, on March 10 at ministerial level in Antalya (south), and on March 29 in Istanbul, but “the positive atmosphere that emanated from them was unfortunately overshadowed” by the events of Boutcha and Irpin, said Thursday the head of Turkish diplomacy Mevlüt Cavusoglu.
On Friday, the United Kingdom announced that it was sanctioning the two daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin and that of the head of diplomacy Sergei Lavrov because of the invasion of Ukraine, saying it wanted to attack the “lavish lifestyle of the inner circle of the Kremlin”.
And the European Union also adopted a new set of punitive measures on Thursday evening, including an embargo on Russian coal. This is the very first time that the Europeans have hit the Russian energy sector, on which they are very dependent.
The EU imports 45% of its coal from Russia for a value of 4 billion euros per year. This embargo will come into force at the beginning of August.
Japan has also announced that it will ban the import of Russian coal.
Brussels plans to ban exports to Russia up to 10 billion euros, new sanctions against Russian banks and the closure of European ports to Russian ships.
At the same time, the EU is ready to release an additional €500 million to fund arms for Ukraine.
Kyiv is calling for the “immediate” supply of weapons, before it is too late to face a new Russian offensive in the East.
NATO promised Thursday through the voice of its Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, “significant support”.
Many observers believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin is desperate to take Donbass before the May 9 military parade marking the end of World War II, the most important celebration in Russia.
The indirect repercussions of the conflict are also still being felt around the world.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations said on Friday that world food prices reached their “highest levels on record” in March due to the war in Ukraine which is upsetting grain markets. and vegetable oils.
An announcement that raises fears of a global food crisis and the possible socio-political unrest that could result in some countries.