Around 4,000 people were at railway station when attack unfolded, Kramatorsk mayor says
Around 4,000 people were at the Kramatorsk railway station when Russian rockets hit on Friday morning, the city’s mayor Oleksandr Honcharenko has said.
“The departure of the first trains begins at 10 o’clock, so the Russian occupiers deliberately hit at 10:30 am, when there were 4,000 people,” Honcharenko told Rada, the official TV station of the Ukrainian parliament.
The attack killed more than 30 people, including children, and injured around 100, officials, national police said. One of the two rockets also hit a temporarily waiting room, where hundreds were waiting to be evacuated, they said.
“This is another proof that Russia is brutally, barbarically destroying the civilian population of Ukraine, with the sole purpose of killing,” the national police said in a statement on its Telegram channel.
Police officers, medics staff and emergency personnel are onsite to provide assistance and document the impact, the statement added.
A man carries an injured dog after a rocket attack in Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine on Friday.
U.K. sanctions daughters of Putin and Lavrov
The British government has unveiled fresh sanctions against the daughters of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov after a similar decision in the United States.
Putin’s daughters, Katerina Vladimirovna Tikhonova and Maria Vladimirovna Vorontsova, and Lavrov’s daughter, Yekaterina Sergeyevna, will now be subject to asset freezes and travel bans, the U.K. said in a statement on Friday.
Currently over 60% of Russia’s foreign reserve — almost $350 billion — has been frozen as a result of sanctions by the U.K. and its allies, it said.
“Our unprecedented package of sanctions is hitting the elite and their families, while degrading the Russian economy on a scale Russia hasn’t seen since the fall of the Soviet Union,” said Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.
Global food prices surge amid Russia’s invasion, United Nations says
World food commodity prices “reached their highest levels ever in March” as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization said on Friday.
“The FAO Food Price Index averaged 159.3 points in March, up 12.6% from Feb 2022 and was 33.6% higher than in March 2021,” the organization said in a tweet.
The price of wheat rose by 19.7 this month, according to the FAO Food Price Index, “driven by large rises in wheat and all coarse grain prices largely as a result of the war in Ukraine,” the organization said in a statement.
The Index for vegetable oil also rose by 23.2 percent this month, driven by demands for sunflower seed oil, of which Ukraine is the world’s leading exporter.
The Index overall rose by 12.6 per cent from February to March 2022. The latest figures marked a 33.6 per cent jump than prices in March 2021, according to the organization’s data.
Ukraine’s wheat and maize has accounted for 20 per cent of the world’s exports for the past three years, while Russian wheat and maize accounted for 30 per cent.
E.U. adopts fifth round of sanctions against Russia
The European Union has formally adopted a fifth round of sanctions against Russia that prohibits coal imports and access of Russian vessels to E.U. ports.
“These latest sanctions were adopted following the atrocities committed by Russian armed forces in Bucha and other places under Russian occupation,” said High Representative Josep Borrell in a statement on Friday.
Russian and Belarusian road transport with the E.U. will be prohibited, restricting movement of any goods except for humanitarian, food, and medical purposes. Export bans targeting jet fuel and technology were also agreed upon, accounting for almost $11 billion of trade.
Four key Russian banks, which account for 23% of market share in Russia and were earlier removed from the SWIFT payment system, have also been completely cut off from the E.U. market.
Japan expelling eight Russian diplomats
Japan is expelling eight Russian diplomats in response to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, its foreign ministry confirmed on Friday.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hikariko Ono announced the decision, according to Reuters. She said Japan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Takeo Mori had notified Russian Ambassador Mikhail Galuzin of the decision.
It comes as a number of European countries have also moved to expel Russian diplomats in recent days after Russia was accused of killing and torturing hundreds of people in the Kyiv suburb of Bucha.
Russia has consistently denied targeting civilians in its attacks on Ukraine, including in Bucha.
The remains of a rocket appearing to be adorned with the words “for our children” lies on the ground outside the railway station in the eastern city of Kramatorsk, Ukraine on Friday.
Zelenskyy accuse Russian forces of ‘destroying civilian population’ after railway attack
Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy has slammed Russian forces for “destroying the civilian population” after rocket strikes hit a railway station in the city of Kramatorsk, where thousands of people were waiting to be evacuated, according to officials.
“Lacking the strength and courage to stand up to us on the battlefield, they 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 in a statement on his official Telegram channel.
The attack on Friday morning has killed over 30 people and injured around 100, according to Ukraine’s state railway company. Zelenskyy also said around 30 people had died. NBC News has been unable to independently verify the strikes or the death toll.
Ukrainian servicemen carry a victim to be placed next to other casualties after a bombing at a railway station in the eastern city of Kramatorsk on Friday.
More than 30 dead after rocket strike hits railway station in Kramatorsk, officials say
More than 30 people have been killed after two Russian rockets hit a railway station in Kramatorsk, a city in the Donetsk region, as thousands of Ukrainians tried to flee the region on Friday, Ukraine’s state railway company has said.
Ukrainian Railways said on its Telegram channel that more than 100 people were also wounded in the strikes. NBC News was not able to independently verify the strikes or the reported death toll and injuries.
In a statement posted on his official Telegram channel, Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko accused Russian forces of intentionally hitting the station, saying they “knew well where they were aiming and what they wanted: they wanted to take as many peaceful people as possible hostage.”
“This is a deliberate blow to the passenger infrastructure of the railway and the residents of Kramatorsk,” the head of Ukrainian Railways, Alexander Kamyshin, wrote in the company’s Telegram channel.
Mood of peace talks has been affected by events in Bucha, negotiator says
Peace talks between Russia and Ukraine have been ongoing, but the mood of the negotiations has shifted since the atrocities Russian forces are alleged to have committed in Bucha came to light, Ukrainian negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak has said.
In televised comments Friday, Podolyak, a presidential adviser, said there was an “ongoing online process” for peace talks between the two countries. But he added that the events in Bucha, where Ukrainian officials have accused Russian forces of killing and torturing more than 300 people, had left “a certain imprint” on the negotiations.
“This is not a question of the actual conduct of negotiations, but the emotional background against which these negotiations are conducted,” he said. “Ukrainian society is now much more negative about any negotiation concept that concerns the Russian Federation.” Still, he said the negotiation process was important to Ukraine.
Russia has consistently denied targeting civilians in its attacks on Ukraine.
Ukrainian forces have retaken Sumy, governor says
Ukrainian forces have retaken control of Sumy, a city on Ukraine’s border with Russia, after Russian forces left the area, according to its governor Dmytro Zhyvytskyi.
NBC News was not able to independently verify the claim.
In a Telegram post on Friday, Zhyvytskyi said an ongoing restoration and de-mining operation was taking place in the area.
“The area is free of [Russian forces], so if you hear explosions (and there have been many in recent days) — it’s rescuers and explosives. They are neutralizing the ammunition left by the Russian military on our land.” he said.
The governor warned Ukrainians to steer clear of the region around the city.
“There are a lot of mined and unexplored areas. Do not drive on the roadsides and do not use forest roads. Do not approach destroyed equipment or [Russian] sites!” he said.
Russia forces in northern Ukraine have ‘fully withdrawn’ to Belarus and Russia, U.K. says
Russian forces have “fully withdrawn” from northern Ukraine to Belarus and Russia, Britain’s defense ministry has said.
In an intelligence update on Friday, the defense ministry said that at least some of those forces would be transferred to East Ukraine to fight in the Donbas region.
“Many of these forces will require significant replenishment before being ready to deploy further east,” it said, adding that any mass redeployment from the north would likely take at least a week.
Meanwhile, it said Russian shelling of cities in the east and south continues, with Russian forces having advanced further south from the strategically important city of Izium, which it said remains under Russian control.
Ten evacuation corridors to open in Ukraine
Ten evacuation corridors for evacuation have been planned for Friday, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk announced on Telegram.
The planned corridors include evacuation out of the encircled city of Mariupol towards Zaporizhzhia using own private transport as well as from Melitopol and Berdyansk, Vereshchuk said. Five evacuation routes out of Luhansk will also be available.
Ukrainian officials have said that evacuation out of Mariupol has been extremely challenging with safe passages repeatedly attacked and blocked.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said Wednesday that after days of difficulties trying to reach the besieged port city, it was able to facilitate a convoy of private cars and buses carrying more than 500 people to Zaporizhzhia.
European Commission chief heads to Kyiv to meet with Zelenskyy
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is headed to Kyiv on Friday to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
In a tweet Friday morning, von der Leyen said she was “looking forward to Kyiv.”
The trip comes as Zelenskyy has called for the West to be more “courageous” in pressuring Moscow to end its invasion of Ukraine.
On Thursday, the European Union approved a phased-in ban on Russian coal, while the European Parliament called for a full embargo on imports of oil and gas.