Ukraine: the village of Chapliné in shock after a deadly Russian strike
“It’s such a pity for this boy, such a pity,” said Viktor, a resident of the Ukrainian village of Chapliné, whose little neighbor was killed by a Russian bombardment in his house.
Several Russian missiles fell on Wednesday afternoon on this town of 4,000 people, a railway junction in the Dnipropetrovsk region (center-east), killing 25 people including two children and 31 injured, according to the latest report announced Thursday by the presidency.
“An 11-year-old boy was killed under the rubble, another six-year-old died in a burnt-out car near the train station,” deputy head of the presidency Kyrylo Tymoshenko said on Telegram.
One of the missiles destroyed Viktor’s neighbors’ house leaving a huge crater in the yard. This grey-haired man in a blue polo shirt was not at home but he heard explosions from afar.
“My daughter called me to say what a nightmare happened here. I returned by bike. The house next door, it no longer existed. There was a hole five meters deep”, says the man .
The neighbor and her son, injured, were sent to the hospital. But the locals knew there was still a second child under the rubble and started clearing it away.
“After the rescuers arrived and we took him out” dead, continues Viktor. “We saw him every day, it’s like he was our kid,” he laments.
His daughter and mother-in-law were on site at the time of the strike. “They were both in shock,” says Kateryna, Viktor’s wife, at the end of tears. “Thank God they stayed alive.”
The attack hit the station and “five carriages caught fire,” said Artem Jouravliov, a local official with the state emergency service.
The Ukrainian railway company reported three of its employees killed and four others injured and published photos of charred passenger cars.
– Independence Day –
The bombardment came as Ukraine celebrated Independence Day, which commemorates its separation from the USSR in 1991. It also came as the country entered its seventh month of Russian invasion on Wednesday, launched on 24 february.
Moscow claimed to have hit “a military train” bound for “combat zones” in eastern Ukraine, Moscow’s priority strategic objective.
An Iskander missile “directly hit a military train at Chapliné station (…) eliminating more than 200 soldiers from the Ukrainian armed forces reserve” as well as equipment, the Russian Ministry of Defense said.
The Ukrainian general prosecutor’s office for its part indicated that “10 civilians were killed” at the Chapliné station and its surroundings, leaving open the possibility that the other victims were not civilians.
“This is what Russia did to us”, Anatoliï, about sixty, shows his devastated house. “No car, no house, no shed,” he lists.
Behind him, his old blue Lada no longer has a single window. Its bodywork is badly damaged by pieces of roofing. On the roof, only the frame and the chimney remain.
“We thought for a long time that there was going to be a bombing. But we didn’t think that they were going to bomb civilians,” said Anatoly.
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