Currents News Staff
The air-raid siren rings out over a scene of carnage past. In Kramatorsk’s railway station exists a ripped shoe, a discarded hat and a cane left behind.
They came to the station with only what they could carry hoping to reach safer ground, but nearly 60 civilians never left. Lives were cut short by a missile. On it, someone scrawled in Russian: “for the children.”
As many as 4,000 people were here waiting for a train west when the strike happened. The massacre accelerated the exodus.
“Most of the residents of Kramatorsk have left the city,” said Ben Wedeman, “having been urged to do so by local authorities, as this part of the country, the entirety of eastern Ukraine, braces for what could be a massive Russian offensive.”
At the city’s bus station, Nicolay, a volunteer, has been helping with the evacuation. For him, news of the pullback of Russian forces around the capital Kyiv was bittersweet.
“When I heard about Kyiv, that they were leaving Kyiv, I was happy, you know,” Nicolay said. “But then I ealized a couple seconds later that they’re moving to Donbas with their forces. I can’t say that I’m scared but I’m worried about my people, about people, about mothers, about grandparents.
Some are heading west, others north to the town of Slovyansk, where the trains still run. Oksana and a friend and their children are bound for Lviv in the far west.
“There is a lot of bombing here,” says Oksana. “I’m afraid for the children.”
A handful of adult relatives stay behind – far more aware of the danger ahead.