ERR Kramatorsk: Suspect who directed missile attack pleads guilty

Kramatorsk pizzeria ruins.
Kramatorsk pizzeria ruins. Source: ERR

In Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, rescue operations continue at the site of a restaurant hit by a missile. The Ukrainian security authorities have already detained the suspect.

On June 27, a Russian missile hit popular Kramatorsk pizza restaurant "Rio." The strike killed 12 and injured 60.

The suspect was arrested the very next day by the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU). He is accused of directing enemy fire, which is considered treason. The suspect has already acknowledged to being responsible.

"I received a phone call from a Russian military officer based on the territory of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic DNR and he asked me to film the cafe," the suspect said in a video released by the Ukrainian security service.

"On the same day, June 27, he came there and covertly filmed the business and nearby parked vehicles," Galina Pryshchepa, the SSU representative in Donetsk and Luhansk, said. "He sent this video to his employer from the intelligence office of the Russian Ministry of Defense."

Initially, Russian propaganda blamed the Ukrainians for the incident, claiming they had fired down a Russian missile. However, when the Russian defense ministry confirmed the attack, propagandists began claiming that dozens, if not hundreds, of Ukrainian soldiers had been slain.

A self-made memorial in front of the restaurant destroyed by a missile strike in Kramatorsk. Source: GENYA SAVILOV/AFP/Scanpix

"Of course, soldiers came here for lunch and dinner, but this was neither a command post nor a rallying point," Pryshchepa said, explaining that Russian propaganda attempts to rationalize crimes against the Ukrainian civilian population by promoting its own narrative.

The Ukrainian security services are extremely busy. "There are people waiting here for the occupants. These individuals believe that when the Soviet era returns, they will become younger, wealthier and happier — their youth will return," she said.

"I think that the people on both sides of the border are the same. War is not normal. What is happening now is a fratricidal war," Oleg, a local resident said.

"There are undoubtedly some. We did not anticipate this, but this is the case, and one of them was enough." Olga, a local resident, said, "It turns out there are still some [Russia's supporters] around."

On Thursday, funerals for those who died took place in Kramatorsk. The municipality held a day of mourning.


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Editor: Merili Nael, Kristina Kersa

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