Russian missile hits Kramatorsk train station The attack killed at least 50 civilians and overwhelmed local hospitals
The Kramatorsk train station in eastern Ukraine was hit by a missile strike, Ukrainian state railway company head Oleksandr Kamyshin reported on Friday. According to Kamyshin, two missiles were fired at the station. He published photos and videos of wreckage from the strike on Telegram.
As a result of the strike, 50 people died, 5 of whom were children, said Donetsk regional administration head Pavlo Kyrylenko. 98 people were hospitalized, including 16 children.
The hospitals in Kramatorsk are unable to keep up with the number of injured people, Kramatorsk Mayor Oleksandr Honcharenko reported. “A lot of people are seriously injured, missing arms and legs. 30-40 surgeons are operating on them at once,” said the mayor.
According to the Ukrainian police, the missile hit the station’s temporary waiting room. Parts of the missile were found 40 meters (about 130 feet) from the point of impact, which is an indication of how powerful it was, Honcharenko said. When the missile hit, there were about 4,000 people waiting to evacuate (the Ukrainian authorities called for civilians to leave Donetsk two days ago in anticipation of a Russian offensive).
Both Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Oleksiy Arestovych and Donetsk Regional Administration Head Pavlo Kyrylenko said that the station had been hit by a Iskander missile system, a weapon produced and used by the Russian military.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who commented on the missile strike later on, said that Tochka-U missiles had been used. Zelensky posted a video that appears to show a fragment of one of the missiles (Ukrainian and Russian media outlets had previously circulated videos and photos of the same fragment). The words “For the children,” phrased in Russian in a way that suggests retaliation, can be seen on the missile.
The territorial defense headquarters of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) also reported that the missile used in the strike was a Tochka-U missile, though they claimed the attack was carried out by Ukrainian forces.
The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that “the Russian armed forces had no fire missions planned for April 8 in the city of Kramatorsk, nor were any planned,” and that the strike in Kramatorsk was launched “by a missile division of the Ukrainian armed forces from the settlement of Dobropillia, 45 kilometers (28 miles) southwest of the city.”
Ukrainian media outlets pointed out that on April 8 at 10:24 and 10:25 am — about 20 minutes before the first report of the missile strike on the station — two videos that appear to show rockets being launched appeared on the Telegram Channel “Typical Donetsk.” The captions say the videos were filmed in the town of Shakhtarsk, which is controlled by the DNR.
Other Ukrainian outlets said that on April 7 and early on April 8, pro-Russian Telegram channels warned subscribers to leave Slavyansk, Kramatorsk, and other nearby areas “on non-railway transport” due to a “concentration of militants from the Ukrainian armed forces.”
Ukrainian Deputy Interior Minister Anton Herashchenko posted a video that reportedly shows the initial seconds after the missile strike on the station in Kramatorsk.
Warning: Readers may find this footage upsetting.
Tochka-U is the name of a Soviet tactical missile system. In 2017, the Russian Defense Ministry announced it would retire the Tochka-U from its arsenal and replace it with the Iskander missile system; the Tochka-U missiles would be put in storage.
The Ukrainian authorities and media have reported that Russian forces have also used Tochka-U missiles in the ongoing war, suggesting that they might have a shortage of Iskander missiles. The investigative news outlet Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) has written about this. In February, the Russian Defense Ministry itself reported that Tochka-U missiles were used in joint Russian-Belarusian military exercises.
On Friday afternoon, Kramatorsk Mayor Oleksandr Honcharenko announced that the city would begin emergency evacuations using “all public transport and all private transport” and was looking for 30-40 drivers to evacuate people today. He also said that Donetsk residents who are able to get to Kramatorsk will be evacuated.