CHERNIHIV: Ukrainian leaders predict more horrific discoveries in reclaimed towns as Russian soldiers retreat to focus on eastern Ukraine, officials say Russia’s rocket attack on a crowded train station The train station used to evacuate civilians killed more than 30 people on Friday.
Hours after warning Ukrainian troops had uncovered more brutal scenes in a settlement north of Kyiv, President Vladimir Zelensky said at the station in the eastern Donetsk region city of Kramatorsk “Thousands” were at the station when it was attacked. missile.
Zelensky posted a photo on social media showing a train car with smashed windows, abandoned luggage and bodies lying in what looked like an outdoor waiting area. Authorities said more than 100 people were injured in the strike.
“The inhuman Russians are not changing their methods. Without the strength or courage to stand up to us on the battlefield, they are cynically destroying the civilian population,” the president said. “This is an evil without limits. And if it is not punished, then it will never stop.”
After failing to take Ukraine’s capital, Russia has shifted its focus to the Donbas, a mostly Russian-speaking, industrial region in eastern Ukraine where Moscow-backed rebels have been fighting Ukrainian forces for eight years and control some areas.
Ukrainian officials warned residents this week to leave as soon as possible for safer parts of the country and said they and Russia had agreed to establish multiple evacuation routes in the east. Kramatorsk is located in government-controlled territory.
In his nightly video address, Zelenskyy predicted more gruesome discoveries would be made in northern cities and towns the Russians withdrew from the concentrate on eastern Ukraine. He said evidence of civilians killed at close range and dumped on streets in Bucha already had surfaced in a worse way in Borodianka, 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 since Russia invaded Ukraine. “There on every street is what the world saw in Bucha and other towns in the Kyiv region after the departure of the Russian troops. The same cruelty. The same terrible crimes.”
Spurred by reports of atrocities committed by Russian troops in the area around the capital, NATO countries agreed to increase arms supplies after Ukraine’s foreign minister asked NATO and other sympathetic countries to provide weapons to help deal with 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. He said most of the victims were killed by gunfire, not shelling, and some bodies with their hands tied were “dumped like firewood” into mass graves, including one from a children’s camp.
Fedoruk said 320 civilians had been confirmed dead as of Wednesday, but he expected more bodies to be found in the city of 50,000. Only 3,700 remain, he said.
Zelensky said in his nightly speech that Butcha’s horror may be just the beginning. In the northern city of Borodianca, 30 kilometers (20 miles) northwest of Butca, he warned of more casualties, saying “the situation there is much more dire.”
Ukraine and several Western leaders have blamed the Moscow army for the massacre. The weekly Der Spiegel reported that German foreign intelligence had intercepted radio messages in which Russian soldiers discussed the killing of civilians. Russia falsely claimed Buha’s scene was staged.
A Kremlin spokesman said on Thursday that Russia had suffered heavy casualties in its six-week military operation in Ukraine.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Sky News: “Yes, we have a huge loss of troops and this is a huge tragedy for us.”
Peskov also hinted that the fighting could end “in the foreseeable future”, telling Sky that Russian troops “are doing their best to end this operation”.
On Thursday, a day after Russian troops began shelling their village in the southern Mykolaiv region, Sergei Dubovienko, 52, and his wife and mother-in-law drove north in his little blue Rada to Bashtanka, where they Seeking refuge in a church.
“They started destroying Pavlo-Marianovka’s house and everything,” he said. “Then the tank came out of the forest. We thought it was going to be shelling again in the morning, so I decided to leave.”
Hundreds of people fled villages in the Mykolaiv and Kherson districts that were attacked or occupied by Russian troops.
Marina Morozova and her husband fled Kherson, the first major city to fall into Russian hands.
“They were waiting for a big fight. We saw shells that didn’t explode. It was horrible,” 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.
The United Nations estimates the war has displaced at least 6.5 million people within the country.
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 on Thursday that he’s “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 have 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, and the Group of Seven major world powers warned that they will keep adding measures until Russian troops leave Ukraine.
The U.S. Congress voted Thursday to suspend normal trade relations with Russia and ban the importation of its oil, while the EU approved other new steps, including 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.