Ukrainians in the eastern city of Kramatorsk on Saturday laid flowers at a small memorial at the central train station one year after Russian missiles hit the transport hub, killing dozens.

The strikes on April 8 last year killed 61 people and injured more than 160 in one of the single deadliest attacks of the war, which targeted civilians fleeing Russia's advance.

"What is there to say? My close friend and her daughter and their dog died. What more can be said?" 67-year-old Tetiana Syshchenko told AFP, tearing up.

She said she herself narrowly avoided being killed in the blast.

A slow trickle of residents approached a small plaque topped with flowers and children's toys at the station.

They crossed themselves, standing or kneeling silently or crying.


Some 4,000 civilians had gathered last April to board evacuation trains when the station was struck by a Tochka-U missile, which experts said was armed with cluster munitions.

One missile fragment was inscribed by Russian forces with the words: "For our children".

Arriving at the station minutes after the strike, AFP journalists saw at least 30 bodies in bags.

The blood-soaked pavement was strewn with abandoned suitcases, children's possessions and food.

The Kremlin has denied responsibility and said Russian forces do not target civilians, describing the incident as a "provocation".

Sergiy Kupochka, a 57-year-old municipal worker, recounted to AFP at the station that his colleagues were distributing food and water to evacuees at the time of the attack.

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"One of our employees died here," he said, adding that even one year on, "I'm in pain".

Andriy Yermak, President Volodymyr Zelensky's chief of staff, said on social media that "Russian terrorists" were responsible and that "the war criminals must be punished".

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