A Russian missile attack that hit a crowded pizza restaurant in an eastern Ukrainian city killed at least nine people, including three children, authorities said Wednesday, as rescue workers continued searching in the destroyed building’s rubble.
The Tuesday evening attack on Kramatorsk wounded another 56 people, the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs said, in the latest bombardment, a tactic Russia has used heavily in the 16-month-old war.
Two sisters, both age 14, died as result of the attack, the educational department of the Kramatorsk city council said. “Russian missiles stopped the beating of the hearts of two angels,” it said in a Telegram post.
The other dead child was 17, according to Prosecutor General Andrii Kostin.
The attack, using what officials said were S-300 missiles, also damaged 18 multi-story buildings, 65 houses, five schools, two kindergartens, a shopping center, an administrative building and a recreational building, the regional governor, Pavlo Kyrylenko, said. The S-300 is a surface-to-air missile that cannot hit ground targets accurately, but Russia’s forces have repurposed it for loosely targeted strikes on cities.
Kramatorsk is a front-line city that houses the Ukrainian army’s regional headquarters. The pizza restaurant was frequented by journalists, aid workers and soldiers, as well as locals.
Ukrainian-held parts of the partially occupied provinces have been hit especially hard by Russian bombardment and are a key barrier to resolving the war.
The Kremlin demands that Kyiv recognize the annexations, while Kyiv has ruled out any talks with Russia until its troops pull back from all occupied territories. Kyiv recently launched a much-anticipated counteroffensive to take back occupied territory.
Russia, meanwhile, has stepped up its air campaign in Ukraine while the fighting continues along the front line.
Russian forces on Monday and overnight also shelled 16 settlements in the southern Zaporizhzhia region, the Ukrainian presidential office reported.
It said that a 77-year-old civilian was killed in the front-line town of Orikhiv, and that Russian shelling wounded three people in a nearby village recently retaken by Kyiv.
Also, a Russian supersonic cruise missile slammed into a cluster of holiday homes in central Ukraine, sparking a fire which injured a child, the presidential office said.