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Russian missiles on Friday hit a railway station in Kramatorsk, killing “dozens” in the town in Ukraine’s eastern Donetsk region as Moscow strengthened its offensive in the east of the country.

“Thousands of people were at the station during the missile strike, as residents of Donetsk region are being evacuated to safer regions of Ukraine,” said Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of the Donetsk military-civilian administration under Ukraine’s current state of martial law.

He added that police and rescue workers were reporting “dozens of dead and injured” .

Referring to Russian forces, he said that they “knew well where they were aiming and what they wanted” .

“They wanted to take on as many peaceful people as possible, they wanted to destroy everything Ukrainian,” said Kyrylenko.

According to Ukrzaliznytsia, the Ukrainian railways, more than 30 people were killed and more than 100 injured in the rocket attack.

“This is a deliberate blow to the passenger infrastructure of the railway and the residents of Kramatorsk,” the company said on its Telegram channel.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said the station was hit by Russian “Tochka” tactical ballistic missiles.

Unconfirmed videos posted on social media by Ukrzaliznytsia showed Ukrainian police walking around corpses at the strike site.

Six weeks since Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, Moscow’s troops have largely withdrawn from territory north of Kyiv after failing to seize the capital, according to Ukrainian and Russian officials. However, they are regrouping and rearming ahead of an attempt to advance in the eastern Donbas region, where Kramatorsk is located.

Friday’s strike follows an attack on Thursday on a railway bridge near Kramatorsk, some 35km from the frontline.

That strike hampered efforts to evacuate civilians from the eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk. On Thursday, Serhiy Haidai, the head of Ukraine’s Luhansk military administration, said Russian forces were regrouping and would “try to conduct an offensive” within three to four days.

Neither Russian nor Ukrainian military claims can be independently verified.

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