At least eight people were killed and 56 were injured when a Russian missile struck a restaurant in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk on Tuesday, according to emergency services. Rescue workers were searching the debris for victims.
Five people were hurt when a second missile struck a village outside of Kramatorsk, but the majority of the casualties occurred there, where at least three children were among the deceased.
Emergency service representatives posted on the messaging app Telegram that rescuers were "working through the rubble of the destroyed building and searching for people who are probably still under it."
Additionally, a Russian missile struck a group of buildings in Kremenchuk, central Ukraine, about 375 kilometers to the west, precisely one year after an attack on a mall there that left at least 20 people dead. The most recent attack did not result in any casualties.
Residents of Kramatorsk, a city frequently the target of Russian attacks, stood outside embracing and surveying the damage as emergency personnel flitted in and out of the destroyed restaurant.
The structure had been reduced to a tangled network of metal beams. A man in military-style pants and boots emerged with police and soldiers carrying him on a stretcher. It was unknown if he was still alive when he was put in an ambulance.
Two men ran back towards the wreckage while screaming incoherently for a tow rope.
“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.”
Pictures of the rescue teams scouring the site with cranes and other tools were uploaded online by the emergency services.
According to the regional governor of Donetsk Pavlo Kyrylenko, there were people visible under the rubble. He stated that it was unknown how they were feeling, but that "we are skilled in removing rubble."
On military Telegram channels, video footage showed a man receiving first aid on the sidewalk while his head was bleeding.
In his nightly video message, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that the attacks proved that Russia "deserved only one thing as a consequence of what it has done — defeat and a tribunal."
Kramatorsk, a significant city in the Donetsk province to the west of the front lines, would probably be a key target of any Russian advance to the west in an effort to take control of the entire region.
Russian attacks have frequently targeted the city, including one in April 2022 that resulted in 63 fatalities at the town's railway station. Earlier this year, there were at least two attacks on residences and other public places.
Since invading its neighbor in February 2022, Russia has claimed to be conducting a "special military operation" but denies targeting civilian sites.