Chernihiv, Ukraine (AP) – Ukrainian leaders have predicted that more horrific discoveries will be made in rebuilt cities and towns as Russian soldiers retreat to focus on eastern Ukraine, where officials say a Russian missile strike on a crowded railway station. used to evacuate civilians, killing more than 30 people. people friday.
Hours after warning that Ukrainian forces had already found the worst scenes of atrocities in a town north of Kyiv, President Volodymyr Zelensky said “thousands” of people were at a train station in Kramatorsk, a city in the eastern Donetsk region, when it was inflicted. blow. rocket.
Zelensky accompanied the post on social networks with photos showing a car with broken windows, left luggage and bodies lying in the waiting area in the open air. Authorities said more than 100 people were injured in the attack.
“Inhuman Russians do not change their methods. Lacking the strength and courage to stand up to us on the battlefield, they are cynically destroying civilians, ”the president said. “This is evil without borders. And if you don’t punish, you will never stop. “
After Russia failed to capture the Ukrainian capital, Russia shifted its focus to the Donbass, a mostly Russian-speaking industrial region in eastern Ukraine where Moscow-backed rebels have been fighting Ukrainian forces for eight years and controlling some areas.
This week, Ukrainian officials warned residents to leave for safer parts of the country as soon as possible and said they and Russia had agreed to create several evacuation routes in the east. Kramatorsk is in the territory controlled by the authorities.
In his night video, Zelensky predicted more horrific discoveries in northern cities and towns that the Russians had taken out of the concentrate in eastern Ukraine. According to him, evidence that civilians were killed at close range and thrown into the streets in Bucha has already appeared in the worst form in Borodyanka, another town outside the capital.
“And what will happen if the world learns the whole truth about what Russian troops were doing in Mariupol?” Zelensky said late Thursday, referring to the besieged southern port, which has suffered some of the greatest suffering since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “Every street has what the world saw in Bucha and other cities of the Kyiv region after the withdrawal of Russian troops. The same cruelty. The same terrible crimes. “
Prompted by reports that Russian troops have committed atrocities in areas around the capital, NATO countries have agreed to increase arms supplies after Ukraine’s foreign minister requested weapons from the alliance and other sympathetic countries to help counter the expected offensive in the east.
Bucha Mayor Anatol Fedaruk said investigators had discovered at least three mass shootings of civilians during the Russian occupation. Most of the victims died from shots, not shelling, he said, and some corpses with their hands tied were “dumped like firewood” in mass graves, including a children’s camp.
Fedaruk said 320 civilians had been killed as of Wednesday, but he expected more as the bodies were found in a city of 50,000. According to him, only 3,700 people remain.
In his night address, Zelensky said Bucha’s horrors could only be the beginning. In the northern city of Borodyanka, just 30 kilometers (20 miles) northwest of Bucha, he warned of even more casualties, saying “it’s much scarier there.”
Ukrainian and several Western leaders have blamed Moscow troops for the Moscow killings. The weekly Der Spiegel reported that German foreign intelligence intercepted radio reports among Russian soldiers discussing the killings of civilians. Russia has falsely stated that the scenes in Bucha have been staged.
A Kremlin spokesman said Thursday that Russia had suffered heavy casualties during its six-week military operation in Ukraine.
“Yes, we have significant military losses, and this is a great tragedy for us,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Sky News.
Peskov also hinted that the fighting could end “in the foreseeable future,” telling Sky that Russian troops “are doing their best to end the operation.”
On Thursday, a day after Russian troops began shelling their village in the south of the Nikolaev region, 52-year-old Sergei Dubayenko drove north in his little blue Zhiguli with his wife and mother-in-law to Bashtanka, where they found refuge in a church.
“Houses and everything started to be destroyed in Pavel Marianovka,” he said. “Then tanks appeared from the forest. We thought there would be shelling again in the morning, so I decided to leave. “
Hundreds of people have fled villages in Mykolaiv and Kherson oblasts that are under attack or occupied by Russian troops.
Marina Morozova and her husband fled Kherson, the first major city to fall into Russian hands.
“A big fight awaits them. We saw shells that did not explode. It was horrible, ”she said.
Morozova, 69, said only Russian television and radio were available. The Russians were distributing humanitarian aid, she said, and filming the distribution.
Trying to keep moving away from the Russian troops, the couple and others boarded a van that would take them west. Some will try to leave the country, while others will stay in quieter areas of Ukraine.
The United Nations estimates that at least 6.5 million people have been displaced by the war as a result of the war.
The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said more than 4.3 million people, half of them children, had left Ukraine after Russia launched its invasion on February 24 and caused the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.
The International Organization for Migration estimates that more than 12 million people have been attacked in Ukraine.
The head of the United Nations Humanitarian Service told the Associated Press on Thursday that he was “not optimistic” about a ceasefire. after meeting with officials in Kyiv and Moscow this week, given the lack of trust between the parties. He was speaking hours after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Ukraine of abandoning proposals it had made regarding Crimea and Ukraine’s military status.
Two high-ranking EU officials and the Prime Minister of Slovakia visited Kyiv on Friday to strengthen EU support for Ukraine. Prime Minister Eduard Heger said he, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borel had proposals on trade and humanitarian aid for Zelensky and his government.
Part of that, Heger says, is to “offer options for transporting grain, including wheat.” Ukraine is a major world supplier of wheat, and Russia’s war with Ukraine is creating a shortage, especially in the Middle East.
Western countries have tightened sanctionsand the G7 warned that it would continue to add measures until Russian troops leave Ukraine.
The US Congress on Thursday voted to suspend normal trade relations with Russia and ban the import of its oilwhile the EU approved other new steps, including an embargo on coal imports. Meanwhile, the UN General Assembly voted to exclude Russia from participating in the world’s leading human rights body.
U.S. President Joe Biden said the UN vote demonstrated how “Putin’s war has made Russia an international pariah.” He called the images from Bucha “terrible”.
“Signs of rape, torture, the death penalty – in some cases desecration of bodies – are an outrage to our common humanity,” Biden said.
Shrek reported from Kiev, Ukraine. Associated Press reporters around the world have contributed to this report.
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