Two Russian missiles struck the train station in Kramatorsk, a city in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk oblast, as thousands of civilians were gathered Friday awaiting evacuation to safer regions of the country, Ukrainian authorities said. "The rocket hit the temporary waiting room, where hundreds of people were waiting for the evacuation train," Donetsk regional police said. "It is already known there [are] about 30 dead people, including children, and about 100 injured."
Washington Post reporters who arrived at the train station counted at least 20 dead, the Post reports.
Ukrainian leaders have been warning of a major Russian offensive in the Donbas, the eastern region that includes Donetsk and Luhansk, and strongly encouraged civilians to leave while there is still safe passage out. The Kramatorsk train station has been a crucial hub for civilian evacuation of the Donbas, as Nathan Mook, CEO of the World Central Kitchen charity, reported Thursday.
Mook told BBC News on Friday that they were driving by the station right before the missile attack, and "we could see well over a thousand people. It was crowded, just like it was yesterday and the day before." After driving back to the wreckage, he added, he could see "the remnants of one of the missiles in the parking lots, blown out windows, a couple dozen casualties."
"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," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Telegram. "This is an evil without limits."
Russia's Foreign Ministry, as it has with other attacks where evidence points strongly to Russian culpability, denied any involvement in the strike, calling the finger-pointing at Moscow a "provocation" and insinuating that Ukraine hit its own train station with missiles.
Zelensky in a Thursday night video address warned that what Ukrainian authorities are finding in Borodianka, a city 20 miles northwest of Bucha, "is much more horrible" even than the horrors of Bucha. "And what will happen when the world learns the whole truth about what the Russian troops did in Mariupol," he asked, where "on every street is what the world saw in Bucha and other towns in the Kyiv region."
Bucha Mayor Anatoliy Fedoruk said Thursday that investigators have found at least three sites of mass shootings of civilians during Russia's occupation, and at least 320 civilians have been confirmed killed.