A top Chinese diplomat expressed sympathy for the deaths of more than 50 Ukrainian civilians in a missile strike on a train station last week but refused to assign specific blame.

During a UN Security Council meeting on Monday, April 11, Dai Bing, China’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, said China “laments the killing and injuring of dozens of civilians … caused by the Kramatorsk train station attack,” But he did not assign blame.

According to Ukrainian officials, 57 people were killed, and 109 were injured.

Fragments of a missile are found at the attack scene match a Soviet-designed Tochka-U missile. Meanwhile, witness reports of multiple explosions at the site raised concerns that the rocket had been fitted with a cluster munitions warhead.

According to Russian officials, Russia no longer deploys the Tochka-U missile, for which it blames Ukraine for the incident. However, Belarusian observers leaked unverified footage on social media, purporting to show Tochka-U missile systems being carried within Belarus, Russia’s military ally in the conflict.

In the meeting, Ukraine’s envoy to the UN, Sergiy Kyslytsya, also mentioned short-lived reports from pro-Kremlin news sites soon after last Friday’s attack.

According to Kyslytsya, these reports claimed a successful strike against Ukrainian forces gathered at the Kramatorsk train station. However, he noted that the reports were removed as soon as information on the actual outcomes of the strike became available.

This is not the first time China has refused to condemn Russia following a grave attack that took the lives of many Ukrainian civilians. Earlier this month, bodies of civilians – some with their hands bound – were forming a mass grave in the city of Buchi from which Russian troops had recently departed. China called the killings “deeply disturbing” reports but warned against “groundless accusations.”

Since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war, Beijing has held tight to the stance of an outlier in the UN Security Council. In the latest move, it voted against a successful UN General Assembly resolution to expel Moscow from the UN Human Rights Council last Thursday, April 7.

On the same day, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that US officials would continue to engage with their Chinese counterparts about Beijing’s position. It will encourage China to abide by sanctions and “not provide material support to Russia.”

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