More than 20 people were killed in a Russian attack on a train station in the Ukrainian city of Chaplin

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As Ukrainians marked the 31st anniversary of their country’s break from the Soviet Union with a somber parade in Kyiv on Wednesday, Russia launched a deadly missile attack on a train station in a city 300 miles southeast, killing at least 22 people and wounding dozens. said.

The strike rocked Chaplin, population 3,700, after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned days earlier that Russia might do “something particularly brutal” this week to mar Ukraine’s highest national holiday, Independence Day. Details of the blast came late that evening, but Zelensky and one of his deputies said four rockets hit the station, damaged a utility building and destroyed train cars.

“Chaplain is our pain today,” Zelensky said in his evening speech, vowing revenge on Russia. “We will definitely hold the aggressors accountable for whatever they have done. And we will expel the invaders from our land.

Ukraine is preparing for strikes in the capital and other major cities on Wednesday, the six-month anniversary of Russia’s invasion. The contours of the conflict have changed drastically since Moscow’s troops entered the country on February 24, hoping to oust the government in short order. Instead, the war has become a costly, fast-moving affair as Kiev has bolstered international support and attracted unprecedented arms aid from the West.

Although the attack on Chaplain in a rural area of ​​Dnipropetrovsk region was less catastrophic than those initial fears, the death toll was significant – one of the worst attacks on a civilian base in recent weeks. It underscores the targeting of Russia’s transport infrastructure, a strategy to disrupt weapons supply routes, but one that has killed scores of bystanders.

At least 50 people were killed and nearly 100 injured in April shelling of a train station in the Donetsk Oblast city of Kramatorsk, which has become a transportation hub. A scene of carnage and mayhem.

UN News of the Chaplin attacks emerged shortly before Zelensky appeared at a meeting of the Security Council. Addressing a room full of diplomats, including representatives of Russia, Zelensky condemned the latest round of shelling.

“It’s our life every day,” he said. “This is how Russia prepared for this UN meeting.”

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Search and rescue teams were still sifting through the wreckage at the train station late Wednesday evening, and the death toll could rise, Zelensky said. The president initially said 50 people were injured, but an estimate by the deputy head of his office, Kirill Tymoshenko, put the number at about two dozen.

Tymoshenko said An earlier strike in the city flattened a resident’s house, leaving a woman and two children trapped under the rubble. One of the children, an 11-year-old boy, was killed, he said.

Four rockets landed at the train station and set fire to five passenger cars a few hours later, Tymoshenko said. Photographs Published Trains burned and melted down, nearby vehicles exploded, and buildings were reduced to bricks and broken wood by the Ukrainian military on social media.

In Kiev, authorities banned mass gatherings and air raid sirens sounded throughout. Communities around Dnipro and eastern Donbas region reported strikes throughout the day.

But Zelensky did not resist, promising in his speech that evening that Ukrainians would “pave the way for our victory.”

Sammy Westfall and David Stern contributed to this report.

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