Ukraine has called for a “firm response” against Moscow after Russia’s brutal missile attack on a train station packed with civilians on Friday morning killed at least 52 people.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said he expected a “firm, global response to this war crime” while addressing his country on Friday night. At least five children were among the dead, while dozens of people were severely injured.
“Like the massacre in Bucha, like many other Russian war crimes, the missile strike on Kramatorsk must be one of the charges at the tribunal, which is bound to happen,” he said.
The railway station in the Donbass region had been used to evacuate civilians from areas under Russian bombardment. According to the region’s governor, 98 people – 36 men, 16 children, and four women – were taken to hospital.
A missile shell found at the site had “for the children” written in Russian on it, according to images and video taken in the aftermath, which also showed bodies on platform benches and bloodied belongings including toys and a pram.
The city mayor had estimated that there were about 4,000 people at the train station — all trying to evacuate — when Russians started shelling.
Mr Zelensky said: “It is necessary to introduce a full energy embargo – on oil, on gas. It is energy exports that provide the lion’s share of Russia’s profits and allow the Russian leadership to believe in its impunity.”
“This allows Russia to hope that the world will ignore the war crimes of its army,” the president continued. “We will not allow this. Everyone in the world who has the courage, like Ukrainians, to resist tyranny will not allow this.”
He also emphasized that Russian banks must also be completely disconnected from the global financial system.
“Not some of them, but all, the entire banking system of Russia,” he said, adding that it is “inadmissible that the greatest threat to global security is finding its way to global wealth”.
Washington decried the “horrific and devastating images” while foreign secretary Liz Truss said she was “appalled” by the reports, saying the targeting of civilians was a war crime. “We will hold Russia and Putin to account,” she added.
Boris Johnson said the attack “shows the depth to which Putin’s once vaunted army has sunk”, and added that the crime will not go unpunished.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister Iryna Vereshchuk said 10 humanitarian corridors have been agreed for the evacuation of people across the country. This includes corridors for people leaving Mariupol by private transport, she said.
Moscow has denied the Kramatorsk train station attack and said that the missiles used to attack the train station were only used by the Ukrainian military.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, Moscow has repeatedly denied targeting non-combatants. However, the UN estimates that 1,611 Ukrainian civilians have been killed so far in the conflict, noting that the true figure is likely to be much higher.
Last week, the Ukrainian army recaptured many towns around Kyiv, which had been occupied by Russian troops. In Bucha, a suburb to the north-west of the capital, three mass graves were discovered. At least 320 civilians were killed there, according to the town’s mayor.