At least 39 people were killed and 100 injured Friday after two missiles fell on the Kramatorsk station in eastern Ukraine, through which thousands of people have been evacuating for several days.
According to a humanitarian volunteer helping to evacuate the bodies, gathered under plastic on one side of the station forecourt, at least 35 people died in the strike.
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“I saw about 15 injured, but it’s hard to say how many there were, many were evacuated shortly afterwards in cars to hospitals,” he explained.
At least thirty bodies were lying on the ground, in body bags and under tarpaulins, which soldiers and police officers loaded onto a truck.
The boss of the Ukrainian railway company Ukrzaliznytsia, Oleksandre Kamychine, spoke to him of 30 dead and more than 100 injured, denouncing on his Telegram channel a “deliberate strike”.
Thousands of people have been evacuated in recent days by train from Kramatorsk station, capital of Ukrainian-controlled Donbass under the threat of a major Russian offensive.
About an hour before the strike, there were already dozens of civilians – elderly people, women and children – queuing in front of the red-and-white-fronted station, waiting to catch the train.
“I’m looking for my husband, he was there, I can’t reach him,” a woman told AFP, trembling and sobbing, hesitating to approach the bodies, her phone glued to her ear.
Another woman, also traumatized, looks for her passport in the abandoned belongings strewn all over the station and its forecourt, stained with traces of blood. “I was in the station, I heard like a double explosion, I rushed against the wall to protect myself”.
“I then saw people bleeding into the station, bodies all over the ground, I don’t know if they were injured or dead. The soldiers rushed to tell us to evacuate the station, I left everything here”.
Suitcases, stuffed animals, or other bags of biscuits were scattered in several places on the quay, mixed here with a torn off foot or a disgusting mass of shapeless flesh, near an impact point in the concrete.
Amid the broken glass, a policeman picks up bloody telephones here and there in a box, one of which rings in the void.
Four cars were pulverized and charred in front of the station, where taxis usually park. Everywhere, long streaks of blood on the ground.
On the lawn of the forecourt in front of the station, the remains of an imposing khaki and twisted missile, on which is tagged in Russian in white paint “For children”.
“It was a Tochka missile, a cluster bomb,” a police officer told AFP. “It explodes in several places, over an area the size of a football field,” he added.
According to the bloodstains on the ground and the testimonies collected on the spot, the victims were scattered in several places in the station, on the adjoining main platform and its forecourt.
They were apparently of all ages, according to what you could see under the plastic sheeting. Next to one of the bodies, a rescuer placed a chihuahua wrapped in a cloth, dazed but still alive, his jaw pierced by a splinter.
“Two rockets fell on Kramatorsk station,” the Ukrainian railway company had initially announced.