what we know about the bombing of Kramatorsk . station

Civilians targeted as they tried to flee from advancing fighting in the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine. Kramatorsk Station was hit by a bombing raid on Friday morning, April 8.

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According to the latest official report from regional authorities, 52 people have been killed and 109 injured. Here’s what we know about this massacre that is angering Westerners.

Bodies in bags and bloody sidewalks

The rocket fell at the station around 10:30 am, at a time when, as every day, hundreds of residents gather there in the hope of boarding a train or car that will allow them to flee the Russian offensive, France Télévisions special envoy to the world said. spot, Maryse Burgot.

Arriving on the scene after the bombing, the team of special envoys from France Télévisions filmed scenes of chaos. Bodies piled on the floor, in body bags or under tarpaulins, bloodstained sidewalks, abandoned suitcases, a crying woman kissing the lifeless body of a loved one…

A man, who had just arrived at the station with his grandmother, went out to buy cigarettes just as the bombing took place. “I just pulled his lifeless body out of the car,” he tells France 2. “Everything exploded all at once, a lot of people died”says another man.

A strategic target

Portion of the Donbass has been controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014. Kramatorsk is the “capital” of this area that is still under Ukrainian control. A region living in fear of a major and imminent Russian offensive. Because after the withdrawal of his troops from the Kiev region and northern Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has made the total conquest of Donbass his priority. The city of Kramatorsk is now surrounded to the south and east by the pro-Russian separatist ‘republics’ of Donetsk and Lugansk, and by advancing Russian troops to the north.

The Kramatorsk region and its inhabitants are threatened by a large-scale military operation that would send them into a pincer movement. That is why in recent days the Ukrainian authorities have stopped calling on the population to evacuate the Donbass as soon as possible. And Kramatorsk saw an influx of displaced people who left their homes to seek refuge in the West, far from the fightingMaryse Burgot explains about France 3.

Moscow denies responsibility for strike

Moscow denies being responsible for the strike. The Kremlin claimed not to have the type of missile that would have been used and denounced a “provocation” Ukrainian. “Ukrainian armed forces committed another war crime on April 8 by striking with a tactical Tochka-U missile”the Russian Foreign Ministry responded.

The defense accused Kiev of having “orchestral” spanking her for “prevent the population from leaving the city to use it as a human shield”† A strategy that is not new: Moscow regularly criticizes “Provocation” Ukrainians to defend themselves against accusations of atrocities and war crimes, such as in Boutcha.

After the bombing, the remains of a rocket were visible in the station forecourt, as noted by Les Révélateurs, the image verification service of France Télévisions. It can be read in Russian “For Our Children”† This recurring expression of pro-Russian separatists is a reference to their children who have been killed since the first Donbass war, which began in 2014.

Ukrainian president calls for ‘firm response’

In response, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the methods “inhuman” from Russia. “Without the strength and courage to confront us on the battlefield, they are cynically destroying the civilian population. It is an evil that knows no bounds. And if not punished, it will never stop.” he wrote on Telegram on Friday. “This is another Russian war crime, for which everyone involved will be held accountable.”the Ukrainian president said in a video message on Saturday morning. “World powers have already condemned the Russian attack on Kramatorsk. We expect a strong global response to this war crime”he continued.

Condemning Western leaders

Volodymyr Zelensky was heard by the President of the United States. This bloody attack on the “capital city” of the part of Donbass still under Ukrainian control is “new heinous atrocity committed by Russia”responded in a tweet from Joe Biden.

A senior US Department of Defense official rejected the Russian authorities’ arguments. “I note that they initially reported a successful attack and only withdrew after reports of civilian casualties”said the official.

It is a “despicable attack”, said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who arrived in Ukraine on Friday for a support visit, accompanied by the European Union’s head of diplomacy, Josep Borrell. Both went to Boutcha, near Kiev, in the late afternoon, where dozens of corpses in civilian clothes were discovered in early April after the departure of Russian troops, some with hands tied behind their backs.

The French head of state also denounced the bombing of Kramatorsk as “awful”. More broadly, Emmanuel Macron then added that France was doing: “gather the evidence” versus “Russian War Crimes” in Ukraine. “We have jointly sent gendarmes and magistrates to help (…) gather evidence of the guilt of Russian soldiers and the identities of these Russian soldiers”he added.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs even spoke of a “crime against humanity”“They attack the station, on refugees, so on civilians, so it responds to crimes against humanity”estimates Jean-Yves Le Drian, Friday evening on France 5, in a clear reference to the Russian troops. “It’s filthy, another massacre”said the head of French diplomacy. “These crimes cannot go unpunished”he hammered, also referring to the massacres of civilians in the outskirts of Kiev.

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