Rights groups vow to continue work amid Russian crackdown

  • A deadly attack on a train station in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk draws international condemnation and calls for accountability.
  • Ukrainian officials say at least 52 people were killed and hundreds more wounded in the attack, which Russia has denied responsibility for.
  • Ukraine’s southern city of Odesa is imposing a weekend curfew over what it said was a Russian “missile strike threat”.
  • The European Union has formally adopted new sanctions against Russia, including bans on the import of coal, wood and chemicals.
  • Russia’s justice ministry has revoked the registration of 15 foreign organisations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
INTERACTIVE Russia Ukraine War Who controls what Day 43
(Al Jazeera)

Here are all the latest updates:

Some Russian forces depleted: US official

A senior US defence official says the Pentagon has determined that some of the Russian combat units that retreated from the Kyiv area in recent days are so heavily damaged and depleted that their combat utility is in question.

The official described these units as “for all intents and purposes eradicated,” with only a small number of functioning troops and weapons remaining.

The official, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said that the US believes Russia has lost 15 to 20 percent of the combat power it had assembled along Ukraine’s borders before launching its invasion.

Death toll from Kramatorsk station rises to 52: Official

The death toll from Russia’s missile strike on Kramatorsk railway station in eastern Ukraine was raised to 52 people, up from 50, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said in a message on Telegram, adding that at least five children were among those killed.

US curbs Russian access to foreign fertilisers and valves

The US has broadened its export curbs against Russia and Belarus, restricting access to imports of items such as fertiliser and pipe valves.

The Biden administration also restricted flights of American-made aircraft that are owned, controlled or leased by Belarusians from flying into Belarus “as part of the US government’s response to Belarus’s actions in support of Russia’s aggressive conduct in Ukraine.”

The Commerce Department said it will begin requiring Russians and Belarusians to get a special license when seeking to obtain a host of goods from US suppliers and pledged to deny those licenses. The goods include fertilizer, pipe valves, ball bearings and other parts, materials and chemicals.

White House slams ‘horrific’ attack on Ukraine train station

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has said the attack on Kramatorsk was “yet another horrific atrocity committed by Russia,” and the administration would support efforts to hold Russia accountable.

“Well, what we’ve seen over the course of the last six weeks or more than that has been what the president himself has characterised as war crimes, which is the intentional targeting of civilians,” Psaki said during a regular news conference.

“This is yet another horrific atrocity committed by Russia, striking civilians who are trying to evacuate and reach safety,” she said.

‘We will continue to work on Russia,’ HRW says

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has vowed to continue documenting Russian rights abuses after Moscow revoked the rights group’s registration for allegedly violating the country’s “current legislation”.

The New York-based organisation said in a series of tweets there is “little doubt” that Russia’s move is in response to the group’s reporting on the war in Ukraine. It is among 15 groups to have their registrations in Russia revoked.

“We will continue to work on Russia, and we will continue to press for the protection of civilians in Russia’s war in #Ukraine,” HRW said.

US believes Russia used short-range ballistic missile: Defence official

The US believes Russia used a short range ballistic missile to strike the Kramatorsk train station, a senior US defence official has said.

“We are not buying the denial by the Russians that they weren’t responsible,” the official said.

The US defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Pentagon believes Russian forces used an SS-21 Scarab missile in the strike but that the motivation for the attack was not clear.

US supports investigations into Kramatorsk train station attack: White House

The White House has said the Biden administration will support investigations into the attack on the Kramatorsk train station, which authorities say was packed with women, children and elderly people.

Several US agencies had previously pledged to assist in gathering evidence of war crimes in Ukraine.

Calcinated cars are pictured outside the train station in Kramatorsk
Calcinated cars are pictured outside the train station in Kramatorsk, April 8, 2022 [Fadel Senna/AFP]

EU to resume diplomatic presence in Kyiv

The European Union has said it will resume its diplomatic presence in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, after temporarily moving it to Poland.

Matti Maasikas, head of the EU delegation in Ukraine, joined top EU officials visiting the country on Friday and will remain in Kyiv to reopen the delegation and assess conditions for staff to return, the bloc’s diplomatic service said.

Top EU diplomat Josep Borrell said the move would enhance the EU’s interactions with the Ukrainian government and help support Ukrainian citizens.

Russians bury dead soldiers as nation admits major losses

Russian families have buried relatives killed in Ukraine at ceremonies with automatic gun salutes and military brass bands.

In the southern garrison town of Vladikavkaz, near the Caucasus mountains, relatives gathered for the funeral of Vitaly Dyadyushko, one of two soldiers buried on Friday in the town’s Vostochnoe cemetery. He left behind four sisters and a mother, said local leader Alexander Kusey.

“He was from a large family, and he was the only one who provided for it. I don’t know how the girls will do without him now, he helped a lot,” Kusey said. “He was not married, he did not have a chance, he was young, very young. It’s a shame when the young pass away before their time.”

Ukrainian official says 67 bodies buried in Bucha mass grave

Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova has said approximately 67 bodies were buried in a mass grave near a church in Bucha.

Venediktova said that 18 bodies – 16 with bullet wounds and two with bullet and shrapnel wounds – had been located so far. Two were women and the rest were men, she said.

“This means that they killed civilians, shot them,” said Venediktova, speaking as workers pulled corpses out under spitting rain. Black body bags were laid in rows in the mud.

Welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the war in Ukraine.

Read all the updates from Friday, April 8 here.

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