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50 people were killed in a Russian strike on a train station, Ukrainian officials say

This general view shows personal belongings of victims and burnt-out vehicles after a rocket attack on the railway station in the eastern city of Kramatorsk, in the Donbass region on April 8, 2022. - More than 30 people were killed and over 100 injured in a rocket attack on a train station in Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine, the head of the national railway company said. (Photo by Hervé BAR / AFP) (Photo by HERVE BAR/AFP via Getty Images)
Personal belongings of victims and burned vehicles are seen after an alleged rocket attack Friday at the railway station in the eastern city of Kramatorsk, Ukraine.

Updated April 8, 2022 at 11:59 AM ET

A missile strike on a train station in eastern Ukraine killed at least 50 people, including five children, according to Ukrainian officials who accused Russia of attacking a key evacuation hub.

The station in Kramatorsk was packed with people when the missile hit, said Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the Donetsk Regional Military Administration. He also said 98 more people were wounded, including 16 children.

Photos shared by Kyrylenko showed the station on fire and bloodied bodies strewn amid abandoned luggage. He said 38 people died at the station and 12 people died at the hospital.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russian forces hit the railway station with a Tochka-U missile. Kyrylenko previously said the missile was an Iskander, loaded with cluster munitions, though his later tweetsalso cited Tochka-U. NPR has not been able to verify the missile independently.

The Russian Ministry of Defense denied any involvement in the attack, calling reports of its responsibility "a provocation."

Earlier this week, Russian troops had retreated from areas near Kyiv and Chernihiv in northern Ukraine. They were believed to be regrouping in Belarus and in Russia for a refocus on eastern Ukraine, where Moscow has recognized self-proclaimed separatist republics in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Ukrainian officials warned of new attacks on eastern areas, urging civilians from Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv to evacuate. This week, railroad officials said rail services might soon be suspended from the Donbas region in the east, encouraging people to rush to trains.

Zelenskyy said "thousands of peaceful Ukrainians" crowded the Kramatorsk station during Friday's rocket attack.

"Not having the strength and courage to confront us on the battlefield, (Russian forces) are cynically destroying the civilian population," he wrote in Ukrainian. "This is an evil that has no limits. And if it is not punished, it will never stop." Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.