At least 22 people were killed and dozens more were injured on Wednesday when a Russian missile strike on a train station in a town 300 miles southeast of Kyiv commemorated the 31st anniversary of Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union.
After Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned days prior that Russia could be planning “something extremely terrible” this week to disrupt Ukraine’s Independence Day, the country’s highest national festival, the walkout shocked Chaplyne, a town of 3,700. Late that night, more information was uncovered about the bombing, although Zelensky and one of his deputies said four rockets hit the station, demolishing rail carriages and damaging an adjacent utility building.
In his evening speech, Zelensky promised revenge for Russia, saying, “Chaplyne is our pain today.” For sure, we will make the occupiers pay for what they’ve done. And we will absolutely expel the aggressors from our territory.
On Wednesday, the six-month anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the country was prepared for possible attacks on the capital and other key cities. Since Moscow’s soldiers surged into the nation on February 24 hoping to quickly overthrow the government, the conflict’s contours have shifted dramatically. Kyiv has mobilized international support and drawn unprecedented weaponry supply from Western countries, turning the war into a costly, grueling affair full of momentum swings.
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Though the death toll from the attack on Chaplyne, a rural area of the Dnipropetrovsk region, was lower than first feared, it was nonetheless high, making it one of the worst single attacks on a civilian site in recent weeks. Russia’s approach of attacking transportation nodes, ostensibly to thwart weapons supply lines but which has instead resulted in the deaths of dozens of innocent people, was also highlighted.
The Chaplyne strikes were reported just before Zelensky was scheduled to make a virtual appearance before the United Nations Security Council. Zelensky condemned the recent shelling in his address to the room full of diplomats, which included representatives from Russia.
‘This is our daily life,’ he declared. To preparation for this United Nations meeting, Russia did the following.
Ukrainians rejoice in the independence of a state that Putin was unable to destroy on August 24.
Even as of late Wednesday night, rescue workers were still combing through the wreckage at the train station, and Zelensky warned that the dead toll may grow. After first reporting 50 casualties, the president’s deputy chief of staff, Kirill Timoshenko, revised that figure down to about two dozen.
According to Timoshenko, a strike on the town earlier left a home in ruins, burying a woman and her two children. He claimed that one of the youngsters, a kid of 11, had been slain.
Timoshenko said that five passenger cars were destroyed in a fire started by four rockets that landed at the train station some hours later. The Ukrainian military released photos to social media of destroyed trains, cars in the area, and buildings reduced to rubble.
Authorities in Kyiv prohibited people from congregating in large groups, and air raid sirens could be heard all across the city. People in the areas near Dnipro and the eastern Donbas region said they were hit by strikes all day long.
But Zelensky was unfazed, declaring in his speech that night that the Ukrainian people “shall forge our path to victory.”