15 dead and 50 injured in Russian strike on train station

15 dead and 50 injured in Russian strike on train station< /p> UPDATE DAY

KYIV | Exactly six months after Russia invaded Ukraine, a Russian strike killed at least 15 people dead and 50 injured at a railway station on Wednesday, Ukraine's national holiday, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a statement. speech before the UN Security Council. 

“I have just received information about a Russian missile strike on a train station in the Dnipropetrovsk region, right on the wagons at Chaplino station. Four passenger cars are on fire,” Zelensky said at the start of his speech. 

“At least 15 people were killed and about 50 injured. (…) It is our everyday life,” he added.

“Today marks a sad and tragic milestone,” said United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, referring to the anniversary date of the outbreak – February 24 – of the fighting, which left tens of thousands dead and injured.

Deploring the consequences of this “absurd war far beyond Ukraine”, he notably reiterated his “deep concern” about the military activities on the site of the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporijjia, the largest in Europe, which suffered strikes of which the two belligerents accuse each other. 

“Any further escalation of the situation could lead to self-destruction”, he warned, while the directors of the he International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, and the Russian atomic agency Rosatom, Alexei Likhachev, met in Istanbul (Turkey) to discuss an inspection of these facilities.

< p>“Taking Control”

Another illustration of the great concern of the international community on this subject, Pope Francis urged the same day to take “concrete measures” to “end the war and avert the risk of disaster” in Zaporijjia.

Russia must unconditionally stop its “nuclear blackmail and simply withdraw from the plant” it has occupied since early March, Mr. Zelensky hammered before the United Nations Security Council. “The IAEA mission must as soon as possible take permanent control of the situation” in Zaporizhia.

“We will fight for (Ukraine) until the end”, had previously proclaimed the Ukrainian president, specifying that it was about “all of Ukraine (…) without any concessions or compromises”, including the Donbass basin (east), partly in the hands of pro-Russian separatists supported by Moscow since 2014 , and Crimea, annexed by Russia the same year.

US President Joe Biden, for his part, has confirmed the granting of nearly three billion dollars in military aid to kyiv, the largest from the United States since the start of the conflict. 

It is, explained the American president, to allow the Ukrainians to “acquire air defense systems, artillery systems and ammunition (…) as well as radars”. 

In a more symbolic manifestation of Western support, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson paid a surprise visit to kyiv on Wednesday. “There is a strong will among Ukrainians to resist. And that is what (Russian President Vladimir) Putin did not understand,” he said on this occasion.

Health centers attacked

After a semester of war, the anniversary of independence acquired in 1991 from the USSR was not to give rise to festivities.

Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife paid tribute to fallen Ukrainian soldiers by observing a minute's silence and laying yellow and blue bouquets – in the colors of the national flag – in front of a memorial in the center of the capital, before attending a rally in the Saint Sophia Cathedral, in which the leaders of the main religious denominations took part.

The authorities of kyiv, where warning sirens sounded in the morning, banned all public gatherings there from Monday to Thursday and , in the northeast, the governor of the Kharkiv region ordered a curfew from Tuesday evening to Thursday morning.

In the early hours of August 24, explosions sounded in several cities, such as Kharkiv, Zaporizhia and Dnipro, according to local authorities.

“It's sad to say, but people started to get used to, they try to continue to live in the same way,” said Mykola, a 33-year-old soldier met in Mykolaiv, a southern city on which missiles rain down daily.

In total, nearly 500 attacks targeted health centers in Ukraine during the first six months of the Russian invasion, claiming the lives of at least 98 people, the World Health Organization (WHO) has also deplored.

The United States is also worried in the short term about another problem: “We have information that Russia is continuing to prepare mock referendums” in Kherson (south), as well as in Kharkiv, on a connection of these regions to the separatist regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, in eastern Ukraine, dropped on Wednesday the White House.