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At least 50 dead in Russian missile strike on evacuees at Ukraine train station

The attack came on the same day a top EU official was scheduled to travel to Kyiv by train.

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At least 50 dead in Russian missile strike on evacuees at Ukraine train station
Emergency personnel work at the scene of a missile attack at a train station in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, on Friday. Officials said at least 30 people were killed. Photo courtesy of Donetsk Regional State Administration/EPA-EFE

April 8 (UPI) -- A Russian missile struck a crowded train station in eastern Ukraine on Friday where thousands of people were waiting to evacuate, Ukrainian authorities said, killing dozens of people and drawing new outrage.

Ukrainian officials said at least 50 people were killed in the missile strike on the train station in Kramatorsk, including several children, and around 100 were injured.

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Kramatorsk is located about 50 miles north of Donetsk and 80 miles northwest of Luhansk -- regions of eastern Ukraine, known as the Donbas, that have been at odds with the Ukrainian government for almost a decade. Kramatorsk is located within Donetsk Oblast.

"The rocket hit the temporary waiting room, where hundreds of people were waiting for the evacuation train," Donetsk regional police said, according to CNN.

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"This is another proof that Russia is brutally, barbarically killing the civilian Ukrainians, with one goal only -- to kill."

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Prior to Friday's missile attack, many at the train station were attempting to evacuate the dangerous region that has repeatedly been hit by Russian shelling over the past six weeks.

Russia's defense ministry denied responsibility for the attack.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said close to 300 people were injured and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the train station was an obvious gathering place for civilians trying to leave. He called the attack a "deliberate slaughter."

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Priest Andrii Gavalin presides over the funeral of Eugene Bogdanov, 35, in Bucha, Ukraine, on May 10. Bogdanov went missing two months ago. His wife, Natalia Bogdanova, was searching for him throughout the Kyiv and Bucha regions when his body was found at a morgue in Belaya Tserkov on May 9. Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

"The inhuman Russians are not changing their methods," Zelensky tweeted Friday. "Without the strength or courage to stand up to us on the battlefield, they are cynically destroying the civilian population.

"This is an evil without limits. And if it is not punished, then it will never stop."

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The deadly missile attack drew yet more global outrage toward Russia just days after images first emerged from Bucha, near Kyiv, that showed dead civilians -- including women and children -- who'd been killed by occupying Russian forces.

The government of Slovakia said it's delivered an anti-aircraft system to Ukraine to help the country defend itself against more airstrikes.

The attack on the train station occurred just hours before European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen traveled by train to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv to engage in talks with Zelensky.

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Von der Leyen posted an image of herself stepping off a train en route to Kyiv with the European Union's top foreign policy official, Josep Borrell.

Zelensky formally applied for Ukraine to join the EU not long after the Russian war began on Feb. 24. The alliance has indicated that it will accept Ukraine into the 27-member bloc, a process that typically takes years.

Meanwhile Friday, Russian forces kept up attacks in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city. The regional military governor said Russia has used artillery, mortars, tanks and multiple rocket launchers in the area. He reported more than a dozen injuries.

According to British military intelligence, Russian troops that attacked Ukraine from the north have not withdrawn back into Belarus, but some have been redeployed into eastern Ukraine. Analysts said those troops traveling east needed significant replenishment.

The British officials said Moscow remains in control of the southern city of Izium and Russian troops are advancing in the southern region of Ukraine.

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