Blast rocks Kyiv railway station as Russian advances stall
KYIV/KHARKIV, Ukraine: An explosion rocked a Kyiv railway station late on Wednesday (Mar 2) where thousands of women and children were being evacuated, Ukraine’s state-run railway company said, as the UN General Assembly demanded that Russia end its invasion.
An interior ministry adviser said the blast was caused by wreckage from a downed Russian cruise missile, not a direct rocket strike. There was no immediate word on casualties and the station building suffered minor damage. Trains continued to run.
Ukraine’s second biggest city, Kharkiv, also suffered heavy bombardment on the seventh day of the war but Ukrainians denied Russia’s claim that its forces had taken the Black Sea port of Kherson.
A US official also said control of Kherson remained contested and said Russian forces appeared to be getting more aggressive in targeting infrastructure inside Kyiv as its advances slow in the face of fierce Ukrainian resistance.
The invasion has yet to achieve Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aim of overthrowing Ukraine’s government but it has sent more than 870,000 people fleeing to neighbouring countries and jolted the global economy as governments and companies line up to isolate Moscow.
The United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to deplore the invasion “in the strongest terms”. It demanded that Russia withdraw its forces in a resolution backed by 141 of the assembly’s 193 members.
While General Assembly resolutions are non-binding, they carry political weight, with Wednesday’s vote representing a symbolic victory for Ukraine and increasing Moscow’s international isolation.
French President Emmanuel Macron hailed the courage of Ukrainians faced with a war he said was Putin’s responsibility alone. “The days ahead are likely to be increasingly difficult,” Macron said in a televised national address.
The UN Human Rights Office said it had confirmed the deaths of 227 civilians and 525 injuries during the conflict in Ukraine as of midnight on Mar 1, mostly caused by “the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area”. It cautioned that the real toll would be much higher due to reporting delays.
After failing to swiftly take major cities and to subdue Ukraine’s military, US officials have said for days that they believe Russia will instead seek to encircle cities, cutting off supply and escape routes, then attacking with a combined force of armour, ground troops and engineers.
‘THEY JUST WANT TO DESTROY’
The most intensive bombardment has struck Kharkiv, a city of 1.5 million people in the east, turning the centre into a bombed-out wasteland of ruined buildings and debris.
“The Russian ‘liberators’ have come,” one Ukrainian volunteer lamented sarcastically, as he and three others strained to carry the dead body of a man wrapped in a bedsheet out of the ruins on a main square.
At least 25 people have been killed by shelling and air strikes in Kharkiv in the past 24 hours, authorities said.
Pavel Dorogoy, 36, a photographer who lives near the city centre, said Russian forces had targeted the council building, which was empty at the time, a telephone exchange, and a television tower.
“Most people hid in the basements for most of the day today and last night … The Russians cannot enter the town so they’re just attacking us from afar, they just want to destroy what they can,” he said.
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