Russia’s retreat from Kyiv marks a change in the dynamics and the military balance, but the conflict is far from over
Thousands of civilians, including many children, were waiting to be evacuated to safety in the Kramatorsk railway station in eastern Ukraine on Friday morning when two missiles, later reported to be cluster weapons that are banned under international law, exploded in their midst. At least 50 people died, and more than 100 others were injured. A message in Russian on the surviving casing of one missile read “For the children”. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, understandably described the attack as the action of “an evil that has no limits”.
Even amid so many other horrors in Russia’s war on Ukraine, the Kramatorsk attack stands out for heartless brutality. It is a week now since Russian forces began to retreat after their invasion stalled around Kyiv. During that time, reporters have filed horrific revelations of the carnage and destruction that the defeated Russians left behind them. Evidence from places such as Bucha, Irpin, Hostomel and Borodianka, in all of which Ukrainian civilians appear to have been summarily murdered, has appalled the civilised world. War crime charges rightly seem certain to be brought against Russia. Now the crimes of Kramatorsk must be added to the charge sheet.