The bombing of a train station in eastern Ukraine has drawn global condemnation and calls for accountability, after Ukrainian officials said the attack on Kramatorsk killed at least 52 people and injured hundreds more.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the attack in the Donetsk region was a deliberate assault on civilians, accusing Russian forces of firing “on an ordinary train station, on ordinary people”.
Thousands had gathered at the station in an attempt to flee, according to Ukrainian officials. Local governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said later on Friday that the death toll had risen to 52, including five children.
Moscow has denied responsibility for the attack, saying the allegations were “completely untrue”.
Here is a roundup of world reactions:
The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, “strongly condemned” the attack, saying it aimed to prevent civilians from escaping hostilities.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who visited Ukraine on Friday alongside Borrell and other European leaders, also condemned the train station attack as “despicable”.
“I am appalled by the loss of life and I will offer personally my condolences to President [Zelenskyy],” she wrote on Twitter. “My thoughts are with the families of the victims.”
I strongly condemn this morning’s indiscriminate attack against a train station in #Kramatorsk by Russia, which killed dozens of people and left many more wounded. This is yet another attempt to close escape routes for those fleeing this unjustified war and cause human suffering
— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) April 8, 2022
US President Joe Biden said the attack was “yet another horrific atrocity committed by Russia, striking civilians who were trying to evacuate and reach safety”.
He pledged to continue to provide Ukraine with security assistance and weapons. “And, together with our allies and partners, we will support efforts to investigate this attack as we document Russia’s actions and hold them accountable,” Biden tweeted.
The attack on a Ukrainian train station is yet another horrific atrocity committed by Russia, striking civilians who were trying to evacuate and reach safety.
— President Biden (@POTUS) April 8, 2022
French President Emmanuel Macron said the deadly bombing was an “abomination”.
“Ukrainian civilians are fleeing the worst. Their weapons? Pushchairs, teddy bears and suitcases. At Kramatorsk railway station this morning, families waiting to leave suffered the unthinkable. Dozens are dead, hundreds wounded. This is an abomination,” he tweeted.
France’s foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, separately said the attack should be investigated as a “crime against humanity”.
“They hit a station where there are refugees, civilians and so this can be seen as a crime against humanity,” Le Drian told France 5 television. “These crimes cannot remain unpunished. Experts must go there quickly and document urgently to provide proof of crimes against humanity.”
Ukrainian civilians are fleeing the worst. Their weapons? Pushchairs, teddy bears and suitcases. At Kramatorsk railway station this morning, families waiting to leave suffered the unthinkable. Dozens are dead, hundreds wounded. This is an abomination.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) April 8, 2022
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the attack demonstrates “the depths to which [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s vaunted army has sunk”.
“It is a war crime indiscriminately to attack civilians, and Russia’s crimes in Ukraine will not go unnoticed or unpunished,” Johnson said during a news conference, pledging to send another $130m in military support to Ukraine.
The spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the attack on Kramatorsk, as well as other attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure “are completely unacceptable”.
“They are gross violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, for which the perpetrators must be held accountable,” Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.
“The Secretary-General reminds all parties of their obligations under international law to protect civilians and of the urgency to agree on humanitarian ceasefires in order to enable the safe evacuation of and humanitarian access to populations trapped in conflict. The Secretary-General reiterates his appeal to all concerned to bring an immediate end to this brutal war.”
The UN Crisis Coordinator for Ukraine, Amin Awad, also called for an immediate investigation. “It was widely reported over the last two days that the station and surrounding area had been full of civilians attempting to flee intensifying hostilities,” Awad said in an earlier statement.
“We are extremely disturbed by the reports of children, women, the elderly and people with disabilities – the most vulnerable people in the Kramatorsk area – who were caught up in this attack.”