A rocket attack on a train station in central Ukraine as the country celebrated its Independence Day killed 22 people, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said.

The Ukrainian leader had warned for days that Russian forces could attempt “something particularly cruel” this week.

The deadly attack hit the town of Chaplyne in the central Dnipropetrovsk region, he told a meeting of the UN Security Council.

Ukraine prepared for particularly violent attacks around the national holiday that commemorates Ukraine’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, which this year fell six months into the Russian invasion of 2022.

People stand next to a residential house destroyed by a Russian military strike in Chaplyne

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson again visited the Ukrainian capital Kyivwhere he received the Order of Freedom, the highest Ukrainian honor that can be awarded to foreign nationals.

On his last trip to the country before leaving office, Mr Johnson planned an additional £54million in military aid, including drones to target Russian forces.

“What happens in Ukraine affects us all,” Johnson said on Twitter.

“That’s why I’m in Kyiv today. That’s why the UK will continue to stand with our Ukrainian friends.

“I believe Ukraine can and will win this war.”

Read more: No city has been hit as hard and often as Mykolaiv – and it could get worse

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Boris Johnson takes a walk in Kyiv

The latest support program for Ukraine includes surveillance and unmanned missile systems as well as 2,000 state-of-the-art drones and anti-tank stray munitions.

Also included are 850 hand-launched Black Hornet micro drones, which can be used to provide live feeds and stills to troops.

During his visit to Ukraine, Mr Johnson also suggested that high energy bills were something British households had to endure as part of the effort to resist Vladimir Putin.

He said that “if we pay Vladimir Putin’s ills in our energy bills, the Ukrainian people pay in their blood”.

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