Monday, June 17, 2024

Russia accused of ‘another war crime’ after train station bombing

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday called the Russian rocket attack on a train station in eastern Ukraine a “war crime” amid reports that mass graves were discovered in a town west of Kyiv.

“This is another war crime of Russia,” Zelenskyy said of the train station attack in Kramatorsk, in which the death toll has risen to at least 50 including five children. “For which everyone involved will be held accountable.”

The train station has been used in recent weeks by civilians evacuating to escape the Russian military’s attacks, which have killed more than 1,417 civilians according to the United Nations.

“Ukrainian civilians are fleeing to escape the worst. Their weapons? Strollers, stuffed animals, luggage.”

The president said “dozens more” people are being treated for severe injuries.

Investigators late Friday found the message “For the Children” written in Russian on part of a missile at the scene of the strike, apparently in reference to Russian claims, frequently heard in propaganda from the Kremlin, that Ukraine has killed children in the eastern Donbas region.

The attack on the train station, like the apparent killing of hundreds of civilians by Russian forces in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha last month, has been the subject of international outrage.

“Ukrainian civilians are fleeing to escape the worst,” said French President Emmanuel Macron. “Their weapons? Strollers, stuffed animals, luggage.”

Russian forces denied responsibility for the attack, claiming the weapons found at the scene are used by the Ukrainian military.

A senior Pentagon official told the New York Times that Russian authorities “claimed a successful strike and then only retracted it when there were reports of civilian casualties.”

“Attempts to hide Russia’s responsibility for this and other crimes using disinformation and media manipulations are unacceptable,” said the European Union in a statement.

Zelenskyy’s accusation of war crimes came as outlets including the Times reported that 132 bodies had been discovered in Makariv, 40 miles west of Kyiv, following the withdrawal of Russian forces. Many of the bodies were buried in mass graves, as they were in Bucha. Makariv’s mayor, Vadym Tokar, told Ukrayinska Pravda on Friday that about 40% of the city had been destroyed.

According to Sky News, Russian soldiers are believed to have gone door to door in Makariv, interrogating residents and killing many of them.

The southern city of Odesa imposed a weekend curfew in light of the train station bombing, and more shelling was reported in the region as well as in Kharkiv Saturday.

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