Kyiv: The death toll from an airstrike on a train station in central Ukraine rose to 25 on Thursday as the EU warned that “those responsible for the Russian rocket attack will be held accountable”. The warning comes after Russia filed a counterclaim that Wednesday’s attack at a railway hub in the city of Chapline in the Dnipropetrovsk region targeted soldiers and killed 200 Ukrainian servicemen. The attack came six months after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine. This day was also the day Ukraine celebrated her independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

State railway operator Ukrainian Railways said on Thursday that tolls had risen from 22 to 25 overnight, including two children, and 31 more people were injured. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned over the weekend that Russia might do “particularly cruel” things to celebrate Ukraine’s independence.

Moscow claimed the attack killed more than 200 Ukrainian troops and 10 units of military equipment. At a daily press conference, the defense ministry said the train was “heading into a combat zone” in eastern Ukraine’s Donbass region, which Russia is trying to take full control of. But the EU’s head of foreign policy, Josep Borrell, “strongly” condemned “another heinous attack by Russia on civilians”. he said on Twitter.

‘Fight to the end’

Washington warned Wednesday that Moscow was preparing to conduct “fake” polls in occupied Ukraine. “Russia’s leadership has instructed officials to begin preparing a fake referendum,” White House National Security Coordinator John Kirby said.

“By the end of this week, we will see the first one or more Russian announcements.” On Ukraine’s Independence Day, messages of solidarity were pouring in from Ukraine’s international allies. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a surprise visit to Kyiv, praising Ukraine’s steadfast defenses amid sirens blaring all day. Mr Johnson said Mr Putin had failed to explain the “strong will of the Ukrainian people to resist”.

“You defend the right to live in peace and freedom. That is why Ukraine wins,” he added. Earlier, Zelensky released his own defiant morning video address, stating: We will fight for it to the end. ” Referring to Russia, he vowed that Ukraine “will not try to find an agreement with terrorists.” “Ukraine is all Ukraine,” he said. “All 25 regions without concessions or compromises”

fresh aid

The United States seized the opportunity by announcing $3 billion in new military aid. The new funds would help Kyiv acquire more supplies for its army, and it would be trapped in a fierce battle of attrition with Russian forces to the east and south, with neither side making significant headway.

Johnson announced a £54 million ($64 million) aid package, including 2,000 “state-of-the-art drones” and anti-tank ammunition. Public gatherings were banned in the capital Kyiv, and Zelensky urged citizens to beware of “Russian terrorism”. Nevertheless, he and his wife held a moment of silence for the fallen Ukrainian soldiers and placed a bouquet of yellow and blue flowers at a memorial in central Kyiv.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called Russia’s anniversary of the start of the war in Ukraine a “sad and tragic milestone”. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU had supported Ukraine “from the beginning” and would do so “as long as it continues”.

Even Belarus’ authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko celebrated Ukraine’s Independence Day, but a spokesman for the Ukrainian president declined to comment. did. – AFP

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