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Ukrainian servicemen stand next to fragments of a missile outside the railway station in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, on Friday, April 8.
Ukrainian servicemen stand next to fragments of a missile outside the railway station in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, on Friday, April 8. (Andriy Andriyenko/AP)

The initial US assessment is the missile that hit the Kramatorsk train station was a short range ballistic missile fired from a Russian position inside Ukraine, a senior US defense official said Friday.

It is the “full expectation” of the US that the attack on the Kramatorsk train station in Ukraine was a Russian strike with an SS-21 short range ballistic missile, according to another senior US defense official.

The official said that while the US does not have “perfect visibility into the Russian targeting process,” the train station is a major rail hub located “right on the edge of the line of contact between Russian and Ukrainian forces in the Donbas area.”

Earlier Friday, Ukraine accused Russian forces of using indiscriminate cluster munitions in Friday’s attack that left at least 50 people dead.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, the head of Donetsk region military administration, said that a Russian Tochka-U missile packed with small bomblets hit civilians evacuating the area. 

Russian forces have been accused of regularly using cluster munitions against civilian targets in Ukraine. Last week, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine said it received credible allegations that Russian armed forces have used cluster munitions in populated areas at least 24 times.

Such attacks “may amount to war crimes,” UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. 

The nongovernmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) has also confirmed Russia’s use of cluster munitions, including at least three instances in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv on March 7, 11, and 13, 2022. 

Cluster munitions pose a distinct threat to civilians by randomly scattering submunitions or bomblets over a wide area. Bomblets that fail to explode upon impact often become de facto landmines, extending the damage post-conflict. 

In 2008, over 100 countries in the United Nations signed on to ban cluster munitions, according to the UN website. Ukraine and Russia did not sign the agreement.

sanjay

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