Russian Missile Hits Restaurant in Ukraine’s Kramatorsk, Four Dead

REUTERS/Oleksandr Ratushniak
Rescues and volunteers wort at the site of hotel and restaurant buildings heavily damaged by a Russian missile strike, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in central Kramatorsk, Donetsk region, Ukraine June 27, 2023.

KRAMATORSK, Ukraine, June 27 (Reuters) – Two Russian missiles on Tuesday struck the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk and killed at least four people, local officials and police said, as rescue crews combed through a shattered restaurant in search of casualties.

The dead included a child while 42 people were injured at the restaurant, according to the city council in Kramatorsk, a city frequently targeted by Russian attacks. The second missile hit a village on the fringes of Kramatorsk, injuring five.

A Russian missile also hit a cluster of buildings in Kremenchuk, about 375 km (230 miles) west in central Ukraine, exactly a year after an attack on a shopping mall there that killed at least 20. No casualties were reported in the latest attack.

In Kramatorsk, emergency workers scurried in and out of the shattered restaurant as residents stood outside embracing and surveying the damage.

The building was reduced to a twisted web of metal beams.

Police and soldiers emerged with a man in military trousers and boots on a stretcher. He was placed in an ambulance, though it was not clear whether he was still alive.

Two men screamed in frenzied tones for a tow rope, then ran back towards the rubble.

“I ran here after the explosion because I rented a cafe here…. Everything has been blown out there,” Valentyna, 64, told Reuters.

“None of the glass, windows or doors are left. All I see is destruction, fear and horror. This is the 21st century.”

Emergency services posted pictures online of rescue teams sifting through the site with cranes and other equipment.

Donetsk regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told national television that people were visible under the rubble. Their condition was unknown, he said, but “we are experienced in removing rubble.”

Video footage on military Telegram channels showed one man, his head bleeding, receiving first aid on the pavement.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his nightly video message that the attacks showed that Russia “deserved only one thing as a consequence of what it has done — defeat and a tribunal.”

Kramatorsk is a major city west of the front lines in Donetsk province and a likely key objective in any Russian advance westward seeking to capture all of the region.

The city has been a frequent target of Russian attacks, including a strike on the town’s railway station in April 2022 that killed 63 people. There were at least two strikes on apartment buildings and other civilian sites earlier this year.

Russia denies targeting civilian sites in what it has described as a “special military operation” since invading its neighbor in February 2022.