8 April 2022, 10:27 AM

Day 44 of Putin's war. Russians attempting to breach Ukrainian defense in Donbas, strike Kramatorsk railway station, killing 50

Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine is now well into its second month. Today, April 8th, is the 44th day of Putin's war. Here, NV tracks the main events of the day.

UPDATE(20:25): Ukraine has come closer to the EU membership, Ukraine's President's Office Head Andriy Yermak has said in a statement.

"European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said that Ukraine's application to join the European Union will be submitted to the European Council this summer," Yermak added.

"We need to do everything sooner, we will do everything to speed up this process. We will not stop for sure, Ukraine will be in the European Union. Our people deserve it like no other."

UPDATE(19:36): Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has started meeting with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU Commission Vice President Josep Borrell in Kyiv.

Before the meeting von der Leyen visited Bucha, a town where Russians have murdered more than 300 civilians. She shared her grief in a tweet.

UPDATE(18:28): Ukrainian Human Rights Ombudswoman Liudmyla Denisova has said Russian occupiers have been raping Ukrainian children en masse. 

"The level of brutality of the army of terrorists and executioners of the Russian Federation knows no bounds," Denisova said in a Facebook post.

A 14-year-old girl was raped by 5 occupiers in Bucha.  She is pregnant now.

An 11-year-old boy was raped in front of his mother - she was tied to a chair to watch. This also happened in Bucha.

A 20-year-old woman was raped by three occupiers in all possible ways at once in Irpin.

"There is no place on earth or in hell where those criminals can hide from retribution. Rape is strictly prohibited by Article 27 of the 1949 Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War," Denisova said.

Ombudswoman sais she appealed to the UN Commission for Investigation Human Rights Violations during the Russian Military Invasion of Ukraine and the expert mission set up by the OSCE participating States in accordance with the Moscow Mechanism to take into account these facts of Russian war crimes in Ukraine.

UPDATE(17:01): The number of victims in Russia's morning attack against Kramatorsk Railway station has risen to 50 people killed, 5 of them were children, Donetsk Oblast Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko has said in a statement.

According to him Russians have used very powerful missle system Tochka-U to attack a railway station with thousands of evacuees.  A rocket had "for children" written on it, BBC has reported.

More than 98 civilians were taken to hospitals. They were mostly women and children. 38 people died right at the railway station, while other 22 died in hospitals, the governor said.

UPDATE(16:37): More than 700 civilians were killed in Chernihiv since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, local mayor Vladyslav Atroshenko has reported.

UPDATE(15:27): Slovakia has passed an air defense system S-300 to Ukraine, Prime Minister Eduard Heger has said in a Twitter statement.

UPDATE(15:17): The number of casualties of Russia's morning strike against the railway station in Kramatorsk has risen to 39 people killed and more than 87 wounded, Donetsk Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko has reported.

There were at least 4000 people at Kramatorsk railway station in the morning of the attack. Evacuation was supposed to start at 10-00, Russians attacked at 10-20.  Ukrainian journalist from Donbas Denys Kazansky has collected Russian media reporting about "a successful strike of a Ukrainian military train in Kramatorsk". However, soon after it emerged many people died, propagandists have changed their messages, blaming Ukraine in the attack.

"Just like with MH17. First they bragged about the strike and then again blamed Ukraine," Kazansky said.

UPDATE (11:52): Russian forces have attacked a railway station in Kramatorsk, a city in Donetsk Oblast, where civilians were waiting for evacuation.

According to Oleksiy Arestovych, an advisor to Ukrainian President, some 30 people were killed and more than 100 wounded in the attack. Arestovysh said this was a deliberate attack against civilians.

The railway station was full of people. Russians attacked early morning on April 8, when hundreds of civilians were at the railway station, waiting for evacuation. The station was hit by a ballistic missile, according to reports from the scene.

Morning Digest

Yesterday, Russia decided to withdraw itself from the UN Human Rights Council shortly after the organization suspended it for committing numerous crimes against humanity in Ukraine. Today, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU Commission Vice President Josep Borrell are to visit Kyiv.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitrii Peskov, in an interview with UK broadcaster Sky News, for the first time admitted that Russia has suffered huge military losses in Ukraine. Peskov refused to name the exact number of losses, but called it "a great tragedy." His statement provoked a scandal in Russia, with some local Russian media even claiming they would not publish Peskov's comments anymore due to his "dubious claims." Russia has previously admitted to losing only about 1,000 soldiers killed in action in Ukraine. Ukraine's Army General Staff has reported the Kremlin has already lost some 19,000 soldiers since the start of full-scale war in Ukraine in February. Western sources have lower estimates, but still reckon Russia's loses to be many thousands of troops.

Despite these huge military losses, Russia continues to attack, kill, rape and loot in Ukraine, according to numerous media reports. However, the Ukrainian authorities have reported that invading Russian forces have now completely withdrawn from Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy oblasts. Mykolaiv Oblast is also almost cleared of the occupiers, oblast governor Vitaly Kim has said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Russian invaders are concentrating their efforts on trying to breach Ukrainian defense in the Donbas, and are continuing their attacks in Kharkiv Oblast. 

Yesterday, the Russians bombed a vital railroad in Donetsk Oblast, completely blocking the the evacuation of civilians from the east of Ukraine. Three evacuation trains full of people are were stuck in Donetsk Oblast. Fortunately, Ukrainian rail workers managed to repair the track overnight, and the evacuation renewed. No civilians were hurt.

Unfortunately, in the morning Russian missiles struck a railway station in Kramatorsk, Donetsk Oblast, causing casualties, Ukrzaliznytsia chairman of board Oleksandr Kamyshyn said in a statement.

This was yet another Russian attempt to disrupt the evacuation of civilians from territories the Russians are threatening to occupy.  Also, Russian forces are still not letting anyone to come close to Mariupol to help the locals trapped there. 

Despite that, today Ukraine is opening another 10 humanitarian corridors for people from Mariupol, Melitopol, Berdiansk, as well as residents of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.

At the same time, Ukraine is discovering more and more evidence of Russian war crimes in the previously occupied territories, not only in Kyiv Oblast, but also in Sumy and Kherson oblasts. 

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