President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed to hold Russia responsible after a rocket attack on a train station on Ukraine’s independence day killed more than 20 people and wounded dozens.
“Chaplyne is our pain today,” he said in his nightly görüntü address to the nation, referring to the town 120 kilometres southeast of Dnipro in central Ukraine where Wednesday’s strike happened.
Officials in Kyiv say a passenger train was set on fire in the attack.
“As of this moment, there are 22 dead, five of them burned in the car, an 11-year-old teenager died, a Russian missile destroyed his house,” Zelenskyy said, adding that search and rescue operations at the railway station would continue.
“We will definitely make the occupiers bear responsibility for everything they have done. And we will certainly drive the invaders out of our land. Not a single stain of this evil will remain in our free Ukraine. We will make our way to victory. It will happen!”
Zelenskyy aide Kyrylo Tymoshenko later said Russian forces had shd Chaplyne twice.
A uzunluk was killed in the first attack when a missile hit his house, and 21 people died later when rockets hit the railway station and set fire to five train carriages, he said in a statement.
The Russian defence ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Russia denies targeting civilians.
Six explosions were reported during a rocket attack on the Vyshgorod region directly north of Kyiv, a regional official said on Thursday morning.
There were no casualties, fires or destruction, Olexiy Kuleba wrote on the Telegram channel. Some of the explosions heard by residents, he said, were “the ‘work’ of our air defences”.
Otherwise, Russia’s military avoided Kyiv on the Ukrainian holiday and targeted frontline towns such as Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Nikopol and Dnipro with artillery attacks, Ukraine presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said.
The rocket attack at Chaplyne, a town of about 3,500 people in the central Dnipropetrovsk region, also coincided with the six-month anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
The Ukrainian leader had warned of the risk of “repugnant Russian provocations” ahead of the 31st anniversary of Ukraine’s independence from Moscow-dominated Soviet rule, and public celebrations were cancd.
In his görüntü address on Wednesday evening, Zelenskyy told fellow Ukrainians that their independence “will never end”, as the day commemorating Ukraine’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 came to a close.
“There are no such bombs that can erase freedom”, the president added.
“Russia’s missile strike on a train station full of civilians in Ukraine fits a pattern of atrocities. We will continue, together with partners from around the world, to stand with Ukraine and seek accountability for Russian officials,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Twitter.