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A missile which killed dozens of Ukrainians waiting to be evacuated at a train station was labelled 'for the children,' according to images from the scene.
The missile is believed to have targeted Kramatorsk railway station in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine - one of the largest cities in the region still under Ukrainian control - with reports suggesting cluster munitions may have been involved.
At least 35 people are reported dead with more than 100 injured, as graphic images and videos from the scene showed bodies of people in civilian clothing laying on platforms and waiting areas, with luggage and pushchairs strewn around the site.
Unverified images appeared to show the remains of a missile, identified as a Tochka-U rocket, lying on a patch of grass near the station, with the words 'за детей' meaning 'for the children' written in white paint on the side.
Russian speakers have clarified that the phrase translates to mean 'in revenge for the children,' as opposed to suggesting the missile was intended to target children.
The mayor of the Kramatorsk said that more than 4,000 people - most of whom were women, children and the elderly - were at the station waiting to board trains bound to the west of Ukraine, with fighting in the Donetsk region expected to intensify in the coming days and weeks as Russia refocuses its military efforts on the eastern separatist Donbas.
The missile attack comes hours after at least three evacuation trains were blocked by air strikes which damaged railway lines out of Kramatorsk, leading to claims that Russian forces were attempting to prevent civilians from leaving.
The missile that hit civilians in #Kramatorsk had the words "За детей" ('For the children' in Russian) written on its side. Two children were killed in the attack on the train station, the Donetsk Regional Military Administration reports. #StopRussia pic.twitter.com/NM4by04Idv— Stratcom Centre UA (@StratcomCentre) April 8, 2022
Russian propaganda networks have claimed the missile was fired by Ukrainian forces, with the country's defence ministry saying in a statement following the attack: "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."
In a statement following the attack, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said: "Lacking the strength and courage to stand up to us on the battlefield, they are cynically destroying the civilian population. This is an evil that has no limits. And if it is not punished, it will never stop."
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock/@StratcomCentre/Twitter
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