After the Russians pulled out from Kyiv Oblast and announced their focus on liberating the Donbas region from Ukraine, two Russian missiles had hit the Kramatorsk train station in the Donetsk region.
According to initial reports, at least 39 people had been killed as a result of the strikes, with 100 more wounded. These people were civilians boarding trains to escape the war in search of safer parts of Ukraine, evacuating to cities in the western hemisphere of the country.
The police present on the scene said that the missiles hit a temporary waiting room where the civilians were awaiting their evacuation trains.
“This is another proof that Russia is brutally, barbarically killing the civilian Ukrainians, with one goal only — to kill,” they said in a statement.
The head of the railway company, Oleksandr Kamyshin, said that the strike was “a deliberate attack on the passenger infrastructure of the railway and the residents of Kramatorsk.” According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, the Russians did not only use missiles but also cluster munitions in attacking the evacuees.
While the head of the Donetsk military administration stated that both cluster and Iskander missiles hit the train station, military analysts have identified the missiles used in the attack, which were said to be Tockha-U 9M79-1 short range tactical ballistic missiles.
A photograph of the fragments of the missile were photographed and recorded on video, which revealed that the phrase “For the children” was written on its sides, referring to Russian propaganda that Ukrainians were harassing and killing children in the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. Ironically, the missile strikes also killed 4 Ukrainian children as of early reports on the ground.
They have also tied the missile launch from the Russians as it was recorded that two missiles were launched from Russian-controlled Shakhtarsk in Donetsk at 10:25 AM local time.
Shortly before the attack on Kramatorsk railway station, at around 10.25 AM, two missiles were launched from pro-Russian controlled Shakhtarsk city (DNR). The Kramatorsk railway station was also hit by two missiles, this could be the location from where it was launched. pic.twitter.com/u56ccrverl
— CaucasusWarReport (@Caucasuswar) April 8, 2022
According to Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, the Russians knew that the Kramatorsk train station was full of civilians waiting to be evacuated.
“Yet they stroke(struck) it with a ballistic missile, killing at least 30 and injuring at least a hundred people. This was a deliberate slaughter. We will bring each war criminal to justice,” Kuleba said.
Ukrainian President Zelensky, who recently personally visited the city of Bucha where mass killings of civilians took place, took to Facebook and expressed his anger and grief toward the recent missile strikes.
“The invaders hit the “point-in” at the Kramatorsk railway station, where thousands of peaceful Ukrainians were waiting for evacuation… About 30 were killed, about 100 people were injured of varying degrees of severity. Police and rescuers are already at the scene. Russian non-humans do not leave their methods,” he said.
“Lacking the strength and courage to fight with us on the battlefield, they (Russians) are cynically destroying the civilian population. This is an evil that has no limits. And if it is not punished, it will never stop.”
Multiple videos circulating on social media show the panic the Ukrainians were experiencing after the attack. It could be heard that hundreds of people were running, screaming, and crying with dead and injured people laying on the ground.
30 refugees, many of them children, were killed in rocket attack on the Kramatorsk railway station while trying to flee west.
Yesterday, Russia struck the tracks, making it impossible to leave. It was repaired & ppl tried to leave today insteadpic.twitter.com/36RsWfOqhK
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) April 8, 2022
The European Union, following the attack, condemned the atrocities against civilians and took to Twitter to express their condemnation of Russia. This comes after the EU had just announced that it was sending more weapons to Ukraine, and that it had approved the 5th package of sanctions along with the their recent set of sanctions implemented in coordination with the United States.
The 5th set of sanctions reportedly includes sanctions against oligarchs, Russian industrial and technological sectors, Russian propaganda actors, and members of the military entities in Russia. It also includes a ban on coal imports, however oil and fuel imports are still a point of contention in the EU as Russia is their main supplier of oil and gas in the continent, making it a choke point for discussions.
“I strongly condemn this morning’s indiscriminate attack against a train station in #Kramatorsk by Russia, which killed dozens of people and left many more wounded,” EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said in a tweet. “This is yet another attempt to close escape routes for those fleeing this unjustified war and cause human suffering,” he added.
Furthermore, Borrell and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is scheduled to meet Zelensky in Kyiv on Friday to discuss more of the assistance Zelensky and Ukraine may need in the future.
In response to the attacks, the Russians, in their usual rhetoric, have denied targeting the civilians and said that all allegations were utterly false.
Pro-Russian telegram channels sent messages about the missile strikes and claimed that it was aimed at the Ukrainian soldiers located on the train station. These messages were later deleted when images of the dead civilians circulated on social media, prompting people from all over the world to call out its propaganda campaign. Another pro-Russian media organization MKRU, blamed the Ukrainian Armed Forces for the attack and said that it hit its own people possibly in a false-flag attack attempt.
— ArmyInform (@armyinformcomua) April 8, 2022
“All statements by representatives of the Kyiv nationalist regime about the ‘rocket attack’ allegedly carried out by Russia on April 8 at the railway station in the city of Kramatorsk are a provocation and are absolutely untrue,” a Russian defense ministry statement said.
The Russian Defense Ministry also claimed that Ukraine was provoking them. They put the blame on Ukrainians as they claimed only the Ukrainian Armed Forces were using Tochka-U missiles in battle. However, this claim has also been debunked by military analysts and open-source data collectors as they have determined that Tochka-U missiles were used during the recent Belarusian-Russian military exercises in Gomel.
It was reported by the Belarusian Hajun Project on March 6 that Russia had been running out of Iskander missiles, and that some 30 Tochka-U missile systems departed from Machulishchy. On March 30, the group also spotted the missile systems along Rechitsa, accompanied by BTR-82As, and Kamaz trucks moving towards Gomel, bearing the letter “V” on them.
It is unknown why the Russians are targeting civilians. Theories have claimed that they were doing this to deal a blow to the morale of the Ukrainian people and their Armed Forces. However, this has only seemed to increase motivation to fight off more Russians from their land. Some have said that the Russians had killed civilians by accident. This seems unlikely because the radio intercepts from Russian soldiers reveal that they were knowingly targeting civilians. Furthermore, the British intelligence agency, MI6, also revealed that killing civilians was always part of Putin’s invasion plan.
With evidence of Russia’s alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity during their invasion of Ukraine, it should prepare to face more sanctions and more heavy offensive weapons. The West had announced several assistance packages including armored vehicles from the UK and Australia, anti-tank weaponry and assorted munitions from the US, and T-72 tanks from the Czech Republic that will be turned over to Ukraine in the coming weeks.
This is a breaking story. SOFREP will update more on the situation as new information becomes available.