As Ukrainians marked the 31st anniversary of their country’s break from the Soviet Union with a somber parade in Kyiv on Wednesday, Russia launched a deadly missile attack on a train station in a town 300 miles southeast, killing at least 22 and wounding dozens more, officials said.
The strike rocked Chaplyne, population 3,700, after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had warned days earlier that Russia could be plotting “something particularly cruel” this week to spoil Ukraine’s Independence Day, the country’s highest national holiday. Details on the bombing were still coming into focus late that evening, but Zelensky and one of his deputies said four rockets hit the station, damaging a utility building and destroying rail cars.
“Chaplyne is our pain today,” Zelensky said in his evening address, promising retribution for Russia. “We will definitely make the occupiers bear responsibility for everything they have done. And we will certainly drive the invaders out of our land.”
And while the assault on Chaplyne, in a rural part of the Dnipropetrovsk region, was a disaster on a smaller scale than those initial fears, the death toll was substantial — one of the deadliest single attacks on a civilian site in recent weeks. It also underscored Russia’s targeting of transportation infrastructure, a strategy ostensibly meant to disrupt weapons supply routes but that has also killed scores of bystanders.