PHOTOS: Rockets strike Ukrainian train station used for evacuations, 30 killed

Friday, 8 April 2022 (17:50 IST)
More than 30 people were killed and over 100 were wounded in a Russian rocket strike in eastern Ukraine as civilians tried to evacuate to safer parts of the country.

EU, UN, and other diplomats return to Kyiv

The head of the EU delegation to Ukraine, Matti Maasikos, returned to Kyiv to reestablish Europe's diplomatic presence there.

The EU representation was completely evacuated from the country a day after the start of the war.

Maasikos was expected to resume his post in the Ukrainian capital with a small team.

He traveled on a train with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the bloc's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell to Ukraine.

Their trip is intended to show solidarity with Ukraine and meet with its president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres' spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, said the United Nations would also reestablish its presence in Kyiv after the temporary redeployment of key personnel.

Many other diplomats were still operating from the western city of Lviv.

Russia, Belarus, slammed with another round of EU sanctions

The European Union on Friday officially passed heavy economic sanctions on Russia and Belarus, the fifth of such a package since the invasion of Ukraine.

Russian coal and other solid fossil fuels will be banned in the EU from August 2022, according to a statement.

Russian businesses linked to the Ukraine war, oligarchs, high ranking-Kremlin officials as well as four Russian banks were hit with immediate asset freezes and a ban on bank and crypto transactions.

The sanctions follow alleged atrocities committed by Russian troops in Bucha and other parts of Ukraine.

Josep Borrell, EU's foreign policy chief, said the goal of the sanctions is to "stop the reckless, inhuman and aggressive behavior of the Russian troops."

Other materials from a wide range of industries were cut off too, including Russian wood, cement, fertilizers, seafood and liquor.

Meanwhile, ports, roads and highways within the EU will now be off-limits to Russian and Belarusian vehicles, excluding those transporting food and medicine or used in a humanitarian context.

Russia and Belarus will also no longer have access to the Union’s jet fuels, and advanced technology equipment, including quantum computers.

Russia an 'evil that has no limits,' Zelenskyy says

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called Russia an "evil that has no limits" following a rocket attack on a train station in eastern Ukraine. The governor of the Donetsk region said 39 people were killed and 89 wounded.

In a Facebook post, Zelenskyy said Russian forces hit the Kramatorsk railway station, where thousands of Ukrainian civilians were waiting to be evacuated, with a Tochka-U missile.

About 4,000 people, most of them elderly, women and children, were at a railway station when it was hit, Mayor Oleksander Honcharenko said.

"Lacking the strength and courage to stand up to us on the battlefield, [the Russians] are cynically destroying the civilian population. This is an evil that has no limits. And if it is not punished, it will never stop," Zelenskyy said.

Russia denied responsibility for the attack.

Ukrainian negotiator says there will be no temporary ceasefire with Russia

Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podoliak said Ukraine and Russia are "constantly" holding peace talks online, but the mood of the talks had changed after the atrocities in Bucha and other towns near Kyiv came to light.

"This is not a question of actual negotiations, but the emotional background on which these negotiations are conducted. Ukrainian society is now much more negative about any negotiating concept that concerns Russia," Podoliak said in an interview with the online publication RBC-Ukraine.

He also ruled out a temporary ceasefire with Russia.

"A temporary truce with the Russian Federation is always a way to further escalation and war," he said. "It cannot be. A temporary truce is an incentive for Russia to take further aggressive action."

According to Podoliak, Ukraine will not accept "Minsk-3" or "Budapest-2" (the reiterations of the Minsk agreement of 2005 or the Budapest memorandum of 1994. – eds.).

"In the historical perspective, even in the short term, all these "Minsks" lead to great tragedies. All these agreements will not work without real preventive mechanisms to prevent war," Podoliak said.

Rocket attack hits train station in eastern Ukraine

Two Russian rockets struck the train station in Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine. According to the Ukrainian state railway company, more than 30 people were killed and over 100 were wounded.

The civilians came to the train station to be evacuated to safer parts of the country.

??????? ????? ???????? ????????? ????????? ????? ???????? ?? ???????????? ??????? ????????????.
?? ????????? ?????? ????????? ??? ????? ?????????, ?? ??????? ???? ?????? ?????, ???? ???????????? ?????????.
????? - ?????? ??????? ? ?????????. ??? ??? ???? ???????? ? ????????!

— ???????? ???? ??????? (@verkhovna_rada) April 8, 2022

"Thousands of people were at the station during the missile strike, as residents of Donetsk region are being evacuated to safer regions of Ukraine," Governor of Donetsk oblast Pavlo Kyrylenko wrote in his Telegram.

He said he thought Russian forces aimed to keep civilians from fleeing.

Russia did not immediately comment on the reports of the attack or the casualty toll. Moscow has denied targeting civilians since invading Ukraine on February 24.

War to cut Ukraine's harvest by 20%

Ukraine’s grain harvest will likely fall by about one-fifth of last year's total, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Friday.

The Russian invasion and ensuring war have hit farmers hard, shrinking cultivated land area and reducing critical fuel supplies, the leader said.

Officials said that with limits placed on grain exports, they do not expect the smaller harvest to affect the domestic food supply.

But North African, Asian andMiddle Eastern countries that depend on Ukrainian grain are already feeling the impact, the UN's food agency warned this week.

Food prices are soaring and prolonged fighting could "seriously escalate food insecurity globally," said Qu Dongyu, head of the Food and Agriculture Organization.

"World food commodity prices made a significant leap in March to reach their highest levels ever, as war in the Black Sea region spread shocks through markets for staple grains and vegetable oils," the FAO said in a statement.

Alongside Russia, Ukraine was one of the world's biggest corn and wheat exporters before the war.

Its fertile regions of Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and Odesa have been occupied by Russian troops at one time or the other since February.

Many farmers have also been displaced or joined the military.

Russia claims it struck a foreign fighters' base near Odesa

Russia's Defense Ministry says it destroyed a base used by foreign fighters near Odesa.

"High-precision missiles from the Bastion coastal missile system near the village of Krasnoselka, northeast of Odesa, destroyed the foreign mercenaries collection and training center," the Russian news agency Tass quoted Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov as saying.

There was no immediate confirmation from Ukrainian authorities, but Odesa city officials earlier wrote on Telegram that the southern city was hit by missile strikes and "infrastructure facilities in the Odesa region were affected."

After Russia invaded Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy invited foreign volunteers to fight alongside Ukrainians.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said that around 20,000 foreign fighters from 52 countries had volunteered.

Ukraine aims for 10 humanitarian corridors for fleeing civilians

Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said officials have negotiated 10 routes to evacuate citizens from besieged cities in Ukraine following days of talks.

Residents from the heavily devastated southeastern Mariupol may now leave the city and head west to Zaporizhzhia, Vereshchuk said in a statement.

Those trapped in the Russian-occupied towns of Berdyansk, Tokmak and Energodar have also been directed to head west.

In the eastern Donetsk region, residents close to the administrative city of Bakhmut may also head there.

Residents will have to travel in their cars, however, the statement said. The drive is about three to five hours.

EU's von der Leyen and Borrell traveling to Kyiv

In a show of support, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and bloc's diplomatic chief Josep Borrell were traveling to Ukraine.

They were due to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv for talks.

Both European leaders shared pictures of their trip on social media.

The visit comes ahead of a solidarity event in Warsaw on Saturday.

It is the second such trip from EU officials. European Parliament President Roberta Metsola went to Ukraine last week.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to meet British PM Boris Johnson in London
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz travels to London to meet British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday.

The meeting would focus on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Both countries are part of NATO and the G7 and support sanctions against Russia.

Johnson has been very vocally urging Europe to move away from its reliance on Russian energy imports.

Germany has supported an EU coal import ban but said ending gas and oil imports would take longer.

UK says Russian troops need 'significant replenishment' before redeployment

British military intelligence said Russian forces would need " significant replenishment" before being ready to deploy to eastern Ukraine.

In its latest intelligence update, the UK's Ministry of Defense said Russian forces have now fully withdrawn from northern Ukraine to

Belarus and Russia, and would need at least a week "minimum" before they are redeployed to fight elsewhere.

It said the shelling of cities in the east and south continued.

Russian forces have advanced further south from the strategically important city of Izium which remains under their control.

Nobel-winning editor Dmitry Muratov attacked in Russia

Russian Nobel-winning editor Dmitry Muratov was attacked with red paint on a train from Moscow to Samara.

He said his attacker shouted: “Muratov, take this for our boys,” in what he believes pointed at criticism of his newspaper’s stance on Ukraine.

Novaya Gazeta announced late in March it was suspending operations for the duration of what it referred to in quotation marks as “the special operation’’ in Ukraine, the term that Russian authorities insist the media must use for the war.

Muratov had publicly criticized President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine.

US bans exports to three Russian airlines

The US Commerce Department said that it had imposed a ban on exports to three Russian airlines for flying in violation of sanctions.

The state-owned airline Aeroflot, as well as the carriers Azur Air and Utair, were banned from receiving American goods for the next 180 days.

“Any companies that flout our export controls, specifically those who do so to the benefit of Vladimir Putin and the detriment of the Ukrainian people, will feel the full force of the department’s enforcement,” US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement.

According to the statement the airlines had operated flights within Russia and to countries such as China, Vietnam, Turkey, India and the United Arab Emirates without seeking US permission as sanctions require.

Japan to impose further sanctions on Russia, reduce coal imports

Japanese Industry Minister Koichi Hagiuda said on Friday that Tokyo plans to gradually reduce its imports of Russian coal with the long term aim of eventually phasing imports out entirely.

Earlier, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida had announced further sanctions after reports of atrocities in Ukraine, which Kishida referred to as “war crimes.”

Japan’s prime minister said that the country was in consultation with the other G7 countries to determine what sanctions to impose on Russia.

Russian aluminium firm calls for Bucha investigation

The chairman of Russian aluminium giant Rusal, Bernard Zonneveld, called for an impartial investigation into killings that took place in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.

“We support an objective and impartial investigation of this crime and call for severe punishment for the perpetrators,” Zonneveld said in a statement on Rusal’s website.

Zonneveld said that he was “shocked” by the reports of atrocities in Bucha and called for the conflict to end “as quickly as possible.”

Last month, Rusal founder Oleg Deripaska said that the conflict in Ukraine was “madness” and would bring shame on generations to come.

US blacklists two Russian state-owned firms

The United States has blacklisted two Russian state-owned enterprises, the US Treasury Department said.

The two firms are the United Shipbuilding Corp (USC) and the Alrosa diamond mining company.

According to the US Treasury, Alrosa is the world’s largest diamond mining company and is responsible for 90% of Russia’s diamond mining capacity, while USC develops the majority of Russia’s warships.

The move denies the enterprises access to the US financial system. The Treasury said it was “cutting off additional sources of support and revenue for the Government of the Russian Federation.”

Scene at Borodyanka ‘much more horrific’ than Bucha  — Zelenskyy

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the situation at the town of Borodyanka outside Kyiv is worse than the discoveries made at the town of Bucha.

 “They have started sorting through the ruins in Borodyanka,” Zelenskyy said in his daily national address on Thursday. “It’s much more horrific there, there are even more victims of Russian occupiers.”

Invading Russian forces pulled out of the region around a week ago. Ukraine has accused Russia of committing atrocities in the areas troops occupied. Moscow has denied that its troops are targeting civilians and claims images of dead civilians have been staged.

Pro-Russian ‘mayor’ of Mariupol claims 5,000 civilians killed

According to the Mariupol city administration established by pro-Russian forces, 5,000 civilians have been killed in fighting in the city.

Konstantin Ivashchenko, appointed “mayor” by pro-Russian forces, told the Russian state news agency TASS that according to experts 60 to 70 percent of apartments in the city had been destroyed or damaged.

Ivashchenko estimated that at least 250,000 people have left the city.

Ukrainian authorities say that there are still 100,000 people in the city and estimate the number of casualties to be in the “tens of thousands.”

Microsoft says it disrupted Russian hacks

US tech giant Microsoft claims to have disrupted hacking attempts by Russian military spies.

The spies were attempting to break into Ukrainian, EU and US targets, according to the company. Microsoft attributes to the attacks to a group it calls “Strontium.”

In a blog posted on Microsoft’s website, the firm said that a group was using internet domains in an effort to spy on US and EU government bodies and think tanks, as well as a number of Ukrainian institutions including media organizations. Microsoft did not provide further details as to who the targets were.

Microsoft said that it was taking legal and technical action to seize control of domains controlled by Strontium, and had obtained a court order that allowed it to take over seven domains on April 6.

Summary of events in Ukraine-Russia crisis on Thursday

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the country would need to use the full transition period of 120 days in order to implement a ban on Russian coal.

The European Council said late on Thursday that the bloc’s latest sanctions package has been given the political green light.

The package includes an EU embargo on Russian coal imports, as well as an import ban on Russian wood and vodka.

Following a debate, a majority of the UN General Assembly voted to suspend Moscow from the body’s Human Rights Council. Some 93 members voted in favor of suspending Russia, while 24 voted against.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said members agreed to boost weapons supplies for Ukraine.

The mayor of Ukrainian city Dnipro, Boris Filatov, called for women, children and the elderly to leave the city.

The World Health Organization said there were “no assurances that the war will not get worse.” WHO confirmed 91 attacks on health care providers, including ambulances and hospitals.

G7 foreign ministers condemned “in the strongest terms the atrocities committed by the Russian armed forces in Bucha and a number of other Ukrainian towns.”

Read on Webdunia

Related Article