Two dead, many injured in Russian strike on Ukraine restaurant

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At least two people were killed and 22 wounded in a Russian rocket strike that hit a restaurant in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, the country’s interior minister said Tuesday.“Two people died and 22 were injured, including a child.

A restaurant and several houses were damaged,” the minister, Igor Klymenko, said on Telegram, adding that more victims might still be in the destruction.“There were a lot of people in there — there are children under the rubble,” said Yevgen, who had been dining with two friends at the Ria Pizza restaurant.“

We were just about to leave,” he said, but one of his friends was not “under the rubble”, he told AFP after the explosion.A crowd quickly gathered at the site, where fires continued to burn as soldiers and rescue workers searched for other victims.

Donetsk governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said two Russian rockets had struck the city of 150,000 people, one of the largest still under Ukrainian control in the country’s besieged east.“There was a good crowd” at the restaurant when the missile hit, one of its cooks, 32-year-old Ruslan, told AFP.“I had just arrived: I was standing there, and then I was buried,” he said. “I was lucky.”

Natalia, in tears, explained that her half-brother Nikita, 23, was inside near the pizza oven.

“They can’t get him out, he was covered” by debris, she said.Several buildings nearby were also damaged in the strike on Kramatorsk, which has often been targeted by Russian forces since the invasion launched by Russia in February 2022.Kramatorsk, once a city of 150,000 inhabitants, is the last major city under Ukrainian control in the east of the country. It lies about 30 kilometres (18 miles) from the frontline.

“People told me they heard a plane flying, there was a hissing and then an explosion,” a 19-year-old Ukrainian soldier who gave his war name as “Ghost”, and was nearby when the strike occurred, told AFP.He quickly entered the restaurant to help rescue workers. “A girl was trapped, injured. They haven’t yet been able to get her out,” he said.

AFP

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