“The area is destroyed”: a journalist from France 24 testifies after the Russian attack in Kramatorsk

Russian rocket fire hit a restaurant in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk on June 27, killing at least nine people, including three children. Colombian journalist Catalina Gomez,  correspondent in Ukraine, was in the restaurant together with famous writer Hector Abad, politician Sergio Jaramillo and Ukrainian writer Victoria Amelina.

At least nine people died and fifty-six were injured in a Russian attack on Tuesday against a popular restaurant in Kramatorsk, the only major city in eastern Ukraine controlled by Kiev, emergency services announced on Wednesday (June 28th).

According to Ukrainian police, Russia fired two S-300 surface-to-air missiles at this city, which had a population of 150,000 before the war, entering its sixteenth month.

The strike destroyed the Ria Pizza restaurant, a downtown establishment popular with journalists and soldiers. Among the dead are three children, Ukraine’s state emergency services said on Telegram, adding that rescuers were “looking for people who are probably under the rubble”.

“The restaurant was full”

The Colombian journalist Catalina Gomez, France 24 correspondent in Ukraine was in the establishment together with other Colombians: the famous writer Hector Abad, the politician Sergio Jaramillo as well as the Ukrainian writer Victoria Amelina.

“The restaurant was full. We saw people injured, some very seriously. It’s a miracle that people survived,” said Catalina Gomez. “Ambulances arrive but the area is completely destroyed.”

The 37-year-old Ukrainian novelist, whose works have been translated into English, German and several other languages, “is wounded in the skull,” according to a press release by Hector Abad and Sergio Jaramillo, published before the death toll rose to eight. The three Colombians were slightly injured.

Hector Abad and Sergio Jaramillo stayed in eastern Ukraine to “express to the Ukrainian people the solidarity of Latin America against barbarism and the illegal invasion led by Russia,” the text explains.

An internationally recognized writer, Hector Abad is notably the author of “The forgetting that we will be”, a literary success from which a film was made in 2020. As for Sergio Jaramillo, a Colombian politician, he was one of the main negotiators of the peace agreement signed in 2016 with the Marxist guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

This photo was taken this morning by @catapluma in the Donbas region with @hectorabadf Sergio Jaramillo and @vamelina in an area at high risk of attack from Russia. This afternoon, the restaurant where they were was attacked. Jaramillo reports that the group of Colombians are.

In addition to the restaurant, apartments, shops, cars, a post office and several other buildings suffered damage, the Ukrainian prosecutor’s office said.

Located west of Bakhmout, a ruined city that was the scene of the longest and bloodiest battle of the war, Kramatorsk has been repeatedly hit by Russian bombardments.

The deadliest was Kramatorsk station, which was hit in April 2022, leaving 61 dead and more than 160 injured just weeks after the start of the Russian invasion, and as crowds of civilians tried to leave the city. .

A major railway hub, Kramatorsk has been the de facto regional capital since the eastern cities of Donetsk and Luhansk were captured by Moscow-backed pro-Russian separatists in 2014.


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