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Toy horse, piles of luggage, rabbit in cage: 39 killed in Kramatorsk rail station rocket attack

At least 39 people were killed and 87 wounded on Friday (April 8) when two rockets hit a railway station in eastern Ukraine packed with evacuees, Ukrainian authorities said, as the region braced for a major Russian offensive.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the Donetsk region, said thousands of civilians had been at the station at the time the rockets struck, in what he described as a deliberate attack. Many of the wounded were in serious condition, he said.

Video of the aftermath showed piles of suitcases and other belongings scattered on the floor outside of the station.

A stuffed toy horse was seen on ground smeared with blood. A live rabbit stayed in its cage.

There were also burnt out cars and parts of what looked like an exploded missile.

The Russian defence ministry was quoted by RIA news agency as saying the missiles said to have struck the station were used only by Ukraine’s military and that Russia’s armed forces had no targets assigned in Kramatorsk on Friday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said no Ukrainian troops were at the station. “Russian forces (fired) on an ordinary train station, on ordinary people, there were no soldiers there,” he told Finland’s parliament in a video address.

Moscow has denied targeting civilians since invading Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what it calls a “special military operation” to demilitarise and “denazify” its neighbour. Ukraine and Western supporters call that a pretext for an unprovoked invasion.

Ukrainian officials say Russia is regrouping forces after withdrawing from the capital Kyiv’s outskirts for a new thrust to try to gain full control of the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk partly held by Moscow-backed separatists since 2014.

(Production: Vanessa Romeo)

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