Kramatorsk: A day after the rebuke in the UN, where Russia has been stripped off its rights as a member of the human rights council, rockets struck a railway station in east Ukraine that killed at least 40 people, including four children.
According to western media experts, Moscow had sent a grim message to Kyiv after its humiliating exit from the UNHRC.
The two strikes came even as thousands of people were at the station trying to board trains to reach safer parts of the country. "It happened at 10:30am, at that time we had about 4,000 people on the railway station, waiting for the first train," the mayor of Kramatorsk was quoted as saying by the BBC. He added that he was certain it was a Russian rocket, and that there were no Ukrainian military targets around the station where the rocket hit.
Russia denied involvement in the strike, with a Kremlin spokesman saying it had no scheduled missions in the area. Moscow also pointed out that Ukraine has the same missile. However, experts were quick to debunk the claim and pointed out that the projectile was painted green as Russian weapons are - while Kyiv's equivalent is painted grey.
Graphic footage showed bodies littered across the floor amid luggage and children's prams. The wreckage of a large missile could also be seen with white Russian text written down the side of its casing, which read: 'For (our) Children' - a message of reprisal from Moscow.
Since launching its invasion on February 24, Moscow has repeatedly denied targeting civilians and civilian buildings, despite mounting evidence showing otherwise. Western nations have warned that Russia might employ false flag attacks in an attempt to justify its actions in Ukraine.
Military commentators were cited by the western media as saying that the missile used in the attack was a Soviet-era Tochka U missile - accurate to within 200 to 500 feet. The station is in the centre of Kramatorsk - a town of more than 150,000 people.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky took to Instagram to decry the attack, and confirmed the reports of casualties. ‘'Russian forces] are cynically destroying the civilian population. This is an evil that has no limits. And if it is not punished, it will never stop,’’ he wrote. He said no Ukrainian soldiers were at the station when it was hit.
RUSSIAN ADMISSION: Russia has, meanwhile, admitted suffering "significant losses of troops" in Ukraine, as the invasion entered its 44th day. Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told British channel Sky News the casualties were "a huge tragedy for us". He said he hoped Moscow would reach its war goals "in the coming days".