Dozens killed as apparent Russian missile strikes Ukrainians fleeing conflict

An apparent Russian missile slammed into a crowded rail platform Friday in eastern Ukraine, killing dozens and wounding hundreds. Thousands of people were waiting for trains to evacuate the area as Russian forces refocused their assault on eastern Ukraine. The Pentagon said Russia will call up as many as 60,000 reservists as the war inflicts heavy losses on Russian forces. Simon Ostrovsky reports.

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  • Geoff Bennett:

    An apparent Russian missiles slammed into a crowded rail platform today in Eastern Ukraine, killing dozens and wounding hundreds. Thousands of people were waiting for trains to evacuate the area, as Russian forces look to refocus their assault on Ukraine's eastern region.

    Meantime, the Pentagon said it believes Russia will call up as many as 60,000 reservists, after six weeks of fighting have inflicted heavy losses on Russian forces.

    Special correspondent Simon Ostrovsky reports.

    And a warning for viewers: Images in the story are upsetting.

  • Simon Ostrovsky:

    These were the things they carried, a baseball cap, a child's stuffed horse now dyed in blood, a pet rabbit, its owner nowhere to be found. Moments earlier, chaos in one of the more gruesome scenes of this war, the dead and dying thrown about by what a senior defense official said was a ballistic missile strike on the more than 4,000 civilians on the platform at Kramatorsk's rail stop.

    Most were women and children, all desperate to flee. And now so many are gone. Local officials recounted the horror.

  • Aleksander Kochura, Kramatorsk Press Service Officer (through translator):

    There were many killed and injured here, as well as ambulances and police, also fire engines. The cars were still on fire. It was hell on earth. They all had shrapnel injuries.

  • Simon Ostrovsky:

    This is what the area around the train station looked like just yesterday, with travelers packed in elbow to elbow.

    The Ukrainian authorities had urged residents of the Donbass region to leave the area, as they braced for a major Russian offensive, but this has turned into one of the single most deadly incidents since the start of the war.

    The tail fin of a Russian Tochka-U ballistic missile was found near the site of the strike with the words "For the children" spray-painted on the side. Local authorities said at least five children died in the attack.

    Kramatorsk is in a strategic location in the government-controlled portion of Donetsk, where Western officials expect Russia to launch a major operation in the coming weeks, although a senior defense official today said Russia continues to struggle with logistics and — quote — "will not be able to reinforce with great speed."

    Speaking to reporters earlier today, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov vaguely said the war could end soon.

    Dmitry Peskov, Spokesman for Vladimir Putin (through translator): We're talking about in the foreseeable future.

  • Simon Ostrovsky:

    But this new video released by Russia's Defense Ministry shows no sign of forces letting up in the eastern Luhansk region.

    Near Kyiv's capital in Bucha, now a horrific symbol of Ukraine's pain, the grim work continues. Police and volunteers gather evidence of war crimes, victims, ordinary citizens.

  • Vitaliy Chaika, Volunteer (through translator):

    These are all killed and tortured people shot at close range with their arms and legs tied. Some were blindfolded.

  • Simon Ostrovsky:

    Today, forensic investigators began exhuming a mass grave. Officials say they found at least three sites of mass shootings during Russia's occupation. Hundreds are believed to have been killed, many still waiting to be found.

    Earlier this week, journalists found the bodies of two women who lay sprawled inside their home. Their neighbor, Iryna Kolisnyk, says three other men are buried in her backyard, one of them, Leonya, shot in the head while he mourned the death of a friend.

  • Iryna Kolisnyk, Bucha Resident (through translator):

    He turns and says: "This is my friend's grave." He was killed. Soldiers walked behind him. And immediately after he said it about the killing, we heard the click and Leonya yes is on the ground. Leonya is gone.

  • Simon Ostrovsky:

    Today, President of the E.U. commission Ursula von der Leyen visited Bucha and gasped at the horror as she was escorted through the trail of bodies.

  • Ursula von der Leyen, President, European Commission:

    We have seen the cruel face of Putin's army. Here in Bucha, we saw our humanity being shattered. And it is — the whole world is mourning with the people of Bucha.

  • Simon Ostrovsky:

    In their latest mission to Kyiv, European officials also huddled with the Ukrainian leader in another effort to show their unwavering support.

    Hours earlier, in an address to his nation, President Zelenskyy warned the devastation in towns neighboring Bucha could even be more dreadful.

  • Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukrainian President (through translator):

    The work on dismantling the debris in Borodyanka has begun. It's much worse there, even more victims of the Russian occupiers.

  • Simon Ostrovsky:

    In another village near Kyiv, residents returned to what's left after enduring heavy Russian bombardment.

  • Lidya Vorobei, Andriivka Resident (through translator):

    They did this to us. They did not fight on the battlefield with our warriors. They fought in the village. The Russians hid behind our backs here and stayed in our houses, garages and cellars and shot at us.

  • Simon Ostrovsky:

    The horrors they recalled echo the many allegations of Russian war crimes committed in towns across the northern region.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Simon Ostrovsky in Kyiv.

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