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Russia slammed for deadly railway station attack

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The US and the European Union condemned Russia after a deadly attack on a railway station in the Dnipropetrovsk region of Ukraine that directly hit a passenger train.

The strike came late on Wednesday, Ukraine’s Independence Day, when Kyiv received pledges of outside assistance including a $2.98 billion weapons and equipment package from the US.

European and Asian natural gas prices have meanwhile surged to near record highs as the worst energy crisis in decades, fueled by the war, intensified competition to secure supplies.

(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian Sanctions Dashboard.)

Key developments

  • Europe’s Energy Crisis Risks Dwarfing $279 Billion Rescue Cash
  • Natural Gas Soars in Europe, Asia as Crisis Heats Up Competition
  • Biden’s $2.98 Billion Ukraine Weapons Package Aimed at Long Term
  • Germany to Provide Ukraine With More Than $500 Million in Aid

On the ground

Russian forces fired at four districts in Dnipropetrovsk overnight, local authorities said on Telegram, while Interfax-Ukraine reported several explosions were heard in the Kyiv region overnight. Russia shelled the central city of Kryvyi Rih with Tornado MLRS, according to Oleksandr Vilkul, head of the city military administration.

(All times CET)

Death Toll Rises From Railway Attack (8:15 a.m.)

The death toll after the attack in Chaplyne rose to 25, including two children, deputy head of presidential staff Kyrylo Tymoshenko said on Telegram. Thirty-one people were wounded.

Overnight, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Russian missile attack on a Ukrainian train station “fits a pattern of atrocities.” Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, expressed horror over the attack and tweeted that “war crimes will not remain unpunished.”

Russia says it only hits military targets, and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that Kremlin forces deliberately slowed their offensive to limit civilian casualties.

Kremlin Puts Off Annexation Votes, Vedomosti Says (8 a.m.)

The Kremlin will most likely delay votes on joining Russia in Ukrainian territories that it has occupied, aiming to wait for more progress on the battlefield, the Vedomosti newspaper reported, citing sources it didn’t name.

Moscow had hoped to conduct the “referendums” as early as Sept. 11, when regular regional elections are scheduled in Russia. They would have covered the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions. But since its troops don’t control all that territory, especially Donetsk, which President Vladimir Putin has publicly declared as a goal for his invasion, the Kremlin has decided to wait, Vedomosti said.

Though the votes are seen as illegal and wouldn’t be recognized internationally, the Kremlin regards them as a way to symbolically cement its control and signal that it wouldn’t give up the territory in any peace talks. Ukraine and its allies have said that’s unacceptable.

Five Grain-Laden Vessels Authorised to Leave Ukraine (2 a.m.)

Five vessels carrying 85,110 tons of grain and food products have been authorized to leave Ukraine ports on Thursday, the Joint Coordination Center, which includes representatives of Ukraine, Russia, Turkey and the United Nations, said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.

Zelenskiy Says Russia Staged Deadly Attack on Train Station (8:47 p.m.)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Russia struck the Chaplyne railway station in the Dnipro region, directly hitting a passenger train.

In a virtual appearance before the United Nations Security Council, he said that “four wagons are on fire, at least 15 people are killed, and about 50 people are injured. The death toll may increase. This is how Russia got prepared for the meeting of the UN Security Council.”

US Says Russia Is About to Stage ‘Sham’ Elections (7:56 p.m.)

US intelligence has found Russia is planning to push forward with elections in contested regions of Ukraine in coming days, according to National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.

Russian leaders have instructed officials to begin preparing elections in Donetsk and Luhanksk and that the first announcement of a vote could come as soon as the end of this week, Kirby told reporters without detailing evidence supporting the intelligence conclusion. He said that the information showed Russian officials are concerned there will be low voter turnout in those elections and are developing communications strategies to combat that prospect.

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