Russian rockets kill 22 as Ukraine celebrates Independence Day

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A Russian rocket strike killed at least 22 people and 50 wounded on a Ukrainian train station on Wednesday, August 24, as the nation celebrated its independence from the Soviet Union.

In a video addressed to the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday, Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the rockets hit a train in the small town of Chaplyne, some 145 km (90 miles) west of Russian-occupied Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. Four carriages were on fire, he said.

“As of this moment, there are 22 dead, five of them burned in a car,” he said before adding one of those killed was an 11-year-old whose house had been destroyed by a Russian rocket.

“Search and rescue operations at the railway station continue. We will definitely make the occupiers answer for everything they have done. And we will certainly throw out the invaders from our land,” he said.

Ukraine had canceled the Aug. 24 celebrations in public places, but many Ukrainians marked the occasion by wearing embroidered shirts laced with the national flag colours.

The Ukrainian leader also promised that the country would recapture Russian-occupied areas of eastern Ukraine and the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014.

“We will not sit down at the negotiating table out of fear, with a gun pointed at our heads. For us, the most terrible iron is not missiles, aircraft and tanks, but shackles,” he asserted.