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The attack on the Ukrainian railway station in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, has killed at least 40 people, including four children, according to local authorities, who recall that thousands of people had gathered there awaiting evacuation.
Among the fatalities, there are four minors, reported via Twitter the mayor of the town, Alexander Goncharenko, according to whom among the about ninety injured there are “very serious” cases, as well as people who have lost arms and legs.
The governor of Donetsk, Pavlo Kirilenko, also insisted through his account in that social network that it was an attack on a “known” rallying point as a place where to speed up the evacuation of the population.
Kirilenko blamed “Russian fascists” for having directed their attack with Tochka-U missiles in a premeditated action against the civilian population.
The Donbas authorities had been urging the civilian population to leave these regions for two days and warning that Russian troops were preparing a major offensive to take full control of them.
On the other hand, Oleksiy Arestovych, advisor to the head of the Ukrainian Presidential Office, assured that the attack was preceded by a thorough reconnaissance of the target by Russia.
“Russian troops attacked the Kramatorsk railway station with an Iskander-type missile. It should be understood that attacks of this type are preceded by a thorough reconnaissance of the target, at least with drones, observing the terrain,” he said on his Facebook account reported by the Ukrinform agency.
According to Arestovych, it is “too expensive a missile” and it is “too difficult and risky to organize attacks of this type.”
“They saw perfectly well that they were hitting civilians, early in the morning, that at those hours at the station there were thousands of people trying to get out, families, children, the elderly,” he added.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a statement via his Facebook account that this attack on a train station is proof that Russia “exterminates” the civilian population.
“This is an evil that has no limits. And if it is not punished, it will never stop,” Zelensky added.
“On the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, seven enemy attacks were repulsed over the past 24 hours,” the Ukrainian military high command assured.
Pro-Russian forces had claimed on Thursday that they had captured the center of Mariupol, the strategic port on the Sea of Azov that has been besieged and shelled by Russian troops for days. Ukraine, however, declared its troops were still holding out.
Russia had already warned, when terminating the first phase of its military operation in Ukraine, that its operations would concentrate on the Donbas, where the self-proclaimed separatist republics are located, whose recognition by Moscow preceded the invasion of Ukraine.