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Ukraine demands tough global response to train station missile attack According to Reuters


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© Reuters. A man walks past burned cars at the site of a missile attack, at a train station, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Kramatorsk, Ukraine April 8, 2022. REUTERS / Stringer

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By Oleksandr Kozhukhar

LVIV, Ukraine (Reuters) – Ukraine called for more weapons and harsher sanctions after it blamed Russia for a missile attack that killed at least 52 people at a train station packed with women. Children and the elderly flee from the threat of a Russian attack in the east.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called the attack in Kramatorsk, in the eastern region of Donetsk, a deliberate attack on civilians. The mayor of the city estimated that about 4,000 people had gathered there at the time.

The United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom condemned the incident, which took place on the same day that European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visited Kyiv to show solidarity and speed up Ukraine’s membership process.

“We expect a firm global response to this war crime,” Zelenskiy said in a video posted late Friday.

“Any delay in supplying … arms to Ukraine, any refusal, can only mean that the politicians in question want to help the Russian leadership more than we do.” , he said, calling for the end of the energy embargo and all Russian banks. global system.

Regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said the station was hit by a Tochka U short-range ballistic missile containing cluster bombs, which exploded in mid-air, dropping deadly bombs over a larger area.

Reuters was unable to verify what happened in Kramatorsk.

Cluster bombs are banned under a 2008 convention. Russia has not signed it but has previously denied using such weapons in Ukraine.

Russia’s six-week offensive has seen more than 4 million people flee abroad, thousands killed or injured, displaced a quarter of the population and turned cities into rubble. crushed when it lasted longer than Russia expected.

Russian families buried loved ones killed in Ukraine with guns and military bands on Friday, a day after the Kremlin first said it had lost significant numbers.

In Washington, a senior defense official said the US “doesn’t buy the Russians’ denial that they are not responsible”, and believes Russian forces fired a short-range ballistic missile in the attack. train station.

The RIA news agency quoted the Russian Defense Ministry as saying that the rockets believed to hit the station were used only by the Ukrainian military and the Russian armed forces had no targets delivered in Kramatorsk on Friday. .

Russia has denied targeting civilians since President Vladimir Putin ordered the attack on February 24 in what he called a “special military operation” aimed at demilitarization and “denuclearization”. anthropomorphized” Russia’s southern neighbor.

Ukraine and its Western supporters call it a pretext for an unprovoked invasion.

Ukrainian officials now expect Russian forces to take full control of Donetsk and neighboring Luhansk to the east, both of which have been held by Moscow-backed separatists since 2014.

The Kremlin on Friday said the “special operation” could end in the “near future” with the goal achieved through the work of the Russian military and peace negotiators.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has warned the war could drag on for months or even years.

The White House said it would support efforts to investigate the Kramatorsk attack, which British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said showed “the depth to which Putin’s army of praise has sunk”.

According to the regional military government, at least 52 people were killed in the explosion.

‘NOT COMMON’

Missile fragments have the words “for children” written on the side. Russia has for years accused Ukraine of killing civilians, including children, with strikes in separatist-held eastern Ukraine.

As Russia concentrated its troops in the east, Ukrainian forces there said late on Friday that they had repelled seven Russian attacks, destroying nine tanks, seven other armored vehicles and two helicopters. promoted. Reuters could not independently verify that.

After part of Russia retreated near Kyiv, a forensic team on Friday began excavating a mass grave in the town of Bucha. Authorities said hundreds of dead civilians were found there.

Russia has called allegations that its forces have executed civilians in Bucha a “monstrous spoof” intended to shame its military and justify sanctions.

Visiting the town on Friday, von der Leyen said they witnessed the “unthinkable”.

She then handed Zelenskiy a starting point questionnaire for the EU to decide on membership, telling him: “It will not be a routine matter for several years to form this opinion but but I think it’s a matter of a few weeks.”

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer will visit on Saturday for talks with Zelenskiy.

The bloc also overcame several divisions to pass new sanctions, including a ban on imports of coal, timber, chemicals and other products along with a freeze on EU assets belonging to Putin’s daughters. and many other tycoons.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the possibility of an oil ban would be discussed on Monday but called oil sanctions “a big elephant in the room” for a highly dependent continent. into Russian energy.

The United States on Friday extended export restrictions against Russia and its ally Belarus, restricting access to imports of items such as fertilizer and pipe valves.

Ukraine on Thursday secured a new commitment from NATO to supply a wide range of weapons.

Slovakia has donated S-300 air defense systems to Ukraine, while Britain will send an additional 100 million pounds ($130 million) in military assistance.

In Prague, defense sources said the Czech Republic has already delivered tanks, missile launchers, artillery and infantry fighting vehicles and will deliver more.



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