The body of an 11-year-old boy was pulled from the rubble of his family’s home after Russian missiles struck a residential area and a train station in eastern Ukraine, killing at least 25 people, as the country warily celebrated its independence day.
A resident named Sergiy said the attack on the town of Chaplyne on Wednesday killed his 11-year-old son.
“We looked for him there in the ruins, and he was lying here. Nobody knew that he was here. Nobody knew,” the distraught father said as he crouched, bare-chested, next to his child’s body wrapped in blankets lying amid the ruins of their home.
A 6-year-old child was also killed when a Russian missile struck the local railway station and set a nearby car on fire.
By Thursday morning, the death toll rose from an initially reported 22 after three more bodies were retrieved in the town of Chaplyne as rescue operations there ended, Ukrainian presidential aide Kyrylo Tymoshenko said.
Tymoshenko confirmed on his Telegram channel that the victims included two children. A further 31 people have been injured, among them a 13-year-old boy.
In a video address to the United Nations Security Council, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said rockets hit a train in Chaplyne, some 90 miles west of Russian-occupied Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.
“This is how Russia had prepared for this meeting of the UN Security Council,” Zelensky said.
In its daily briefing on Thursday, Russia’s defense ministry claimed that an Iskander missile had struck a military train at Chaplyne that was set to deliver arms to the frontline in the eastern Donbas region.
Speaking in Uzbekistan, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu repeated Moscow’s line it had deliberately slowed what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine to avoid civilian casualties.
Russia denies targeting civilians. It has also said that rail infrastructure is a legitimate target since it serves to supply Ukraine with Western weapons.
Commenting on the attack, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Twitter: “Russia’s missile strike on a train station full of civilians in Ukraine fits a pattern of atrocities. We will continue, together with partners from around the world, to stand with Ukraine and seek accountability for Russian officials.”
The attacks came as Ukrainians were celebrating their nation’s 31st Independence Day. The day also marked six months since Russian forces invaded Ukraine, and tensions were running high after Zelensky had warned of the risk of “repugnant Russian provocations.”
Air raid sirens blared at least seven times in Kyiv during the day, though there were no attacks. Ukrainian authorities said air raid alerts were sounded 189 times across the country on Wednesday, more than at any other time during the war.
With Post Wires