A Russian missile strike has killed 22 civilians and set a passenger train on fire in eastern Ukraine as the country celebrated its Independence Day under heavy bombardment, authorities in kyiv said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had warned of the risk of “disgusting Russian provocations” ahead of the 31st anniversary of Ukraine’s independence from Moscow’s Soviet rule, so public celebrations were cancelled.

The holiday also coincided with the sixth month since the Russian army invaded Ukraine, sparking Europe’s most devastating conflict since World War II.

Air-raid sirens sounded at least seven times in kyiv during the day, although no attacks took place.

In a video address to the United Nations Security Council, Zelensky said the missiles hit a train in the small town of Chaplyne, some 90 miles west of Russian-occupied Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

“Chaplyne is our pain today. Right now there are 22 dead,” he said in a video address, adding that Ukraine would hold Russia accountable for anything it does.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, a Zelensky aide, later said Russian forces had bombed Chaplyne twice. A minor was killed in the first attack, when a missile hit his home, and 21 people were later killed when rockets hit the train station and set five carriages on fire, he said in a statement.

The Russian Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Russia denies attacking civilians.

During the Ukraine holiday, the Russian military bypassed kyiv and shelled frontline cities such as Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Nikopol and Dnipro, Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said.


Separately, kyiv submitted information to international legal bodies about Russian plans, outlined by UN representatives on Tuesday, to put Ukrainian Azov Regiment fighters captured in Mariupol on trial, the representatives said.

The port city fell to Russian forces in April after weeks of heavy bombardment as they encircled Ukrainian resistance at the Azovstal steel plant.

Presidential aide Arestovych said Zelensky had made it clear that kyiv would “never, ever” consider peace talks with Moscow if the trials go ahead.


Ukrainian forces shot down a Russian drone in the Vinnytsia region, while multiple Russian missiles hit the Khmelnytskyi area, regional authorities said, both west of kyiv and hundreds of kilometers from the front lines.

No damage or casualties were reported, and Reuters was unable to verify the information.

Russia has repeatedly denied that its forces are targeting civilian targets. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told a meeting in Uzbekistan that Moscow has deliberately slowed down what it calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine to avoid civilian casualties.

At a UN Security Council session on Wednesday, Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia reiterated Moscow’s justification for its actions in Ukraine, stating that a “special operation” is needed to “denazify and demilitarize” the country, in order to eliminate the “obvious” threats to Russia’s security.

Moscow’s position has been rejected by Ukraine and the West as a baseless pretext for an imperialist war.


The president of the United States, Joe Biden, announced the award of almost 3,000 million dollars in weapons and equipment for Ukraine, in the “largest tranche of security aid from Washington to date”. The United States has committed more than $13.5 billion in military aid to Ukraine.

Russia has made little progress in recent months after its troops were driven back from kyiv in the first weeks of the war.

The head of Ukrainian military intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, said on Wednesday that the Russian offensive is slowing down due to low morale and physical exhaustion in its ranks, and Moscow’s “exhausted” resource base.

Russian forces have seized parts of southern Ukraine, including the Black Sea and Sea of ​​Azov coasts, and large swaths of Luhansk and Donetsk provinces, which make up the eastern Donbass region.

The war has killed thousands of people, forced more than a third of Ukraine’s 41 million people from their homes, left cities in ruins and rocked the world economy, creating shortages of essential grains and driving up food prices. energy.

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