The Independentreported that thousands of evacuees were present at the train station at the time of the attack, which killed 50 or more and injured at least 87. Pavlo Kyrylenko, the governor of Ukraine’s Donetsk region, said the “Russian fascists” knew the evacuees were at the station when the attack was launched. “[They] knew very well where they were aiming and what they wanted: they wanted to sow panic and fear, they wanted to take as many civilians as possible,” he said.
The death count was originally reported to be around 30, but Kyrylenko later revised the figure in a post on Twitter. The news comes not long Ukrainian authorities said that they expect more evidence of Russia’s war crimes to surface in portions of the country previously occupied by Vladimir Putin’s invading forces.
“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,” said Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy. “This is an evil without limits. And if it is not punished, then it will never stop.”
The Associated Press explains that officials in Ukraine “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’s mayor estimated there were approximately 4,000 individuals present at the station when the missile struck. Disturbing images shared from the scene show multiple bodies lying next to luggage. “The people just wanted to get away for evacuation,” added Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova, per the AP.
She made the comments while visiting Bucha, a town north of Ukraine’s capital where authorities and journalists discovered dead bodies and mass graves. She said none of the dead were Russians, and most had been shot. Zelenskyy described the scene as a “genocide” and “war crimes,” while Joe Biden has called Putin as “a war criminal.”
“And what will happen when the world learns the whole truth about what the Russian troops did in Mariupol?” said Zelenskyy in a message shared on Thursday. The city has suffered some of the worst attacks from Russia in the conflict so far. “There, on every street, is what the world saw in Bucha and other towns in the Kyiv region...the same cruelty. The same terrible crimes.” He additionally described the invading forces as “Russian monsters.”