At least four dead, 47 injured in Russian strike on east Ukraine restaurant

At least four dead, 47 injured in Russian strike on east Ukraine restaurant
47 people were wounded in the strike outside the popular Ria Pizza restaurant following a Russian air strike in the city of Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, which has been heavily bombarded since Moscow invaded in February 2022.
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Ukrainian police said Russian forces used two S-300 surface-to-air missiles to strike Kramatorsk [Getty]

At least four people were killed and more than 40 wounded in a Russian rocket strike that hit a restaurant in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, authorities said Tuesday.

Ukrainian police said Russia fired two S-300 surface-to-air missiles at the city.

"The bodies of three people, including a minor born in 2008, have been recovered from the rubble. Among the injured was a child born in 2022," the interior ministry said on Telegram.

The Ukrainian emergency service said on Telegram that 47 people were injured in the strike, which destroyed the popular Ria Pizza restaurant.

"There were a lot of people in there - there are children under the rubble," said Yevgen, who had been dining with two friends.

"We were just about to leave," he said, but one of his friends was now "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.

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Donetsk governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said two Russian rockets had struck the city that was once home to 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, said 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 the city, which Russia has often targeted since its invasion in February 2022.

Kramatorsk lies about 30 kilometres (18 miles) from the front line.

"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.