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  • Writer's pictureNataliya Gumenyuk

My Friend Was Out for Pizza When the Missile Hit.

Putin’s Targeting of Civilians Must Be Punished


Please, not that place”: that was our first reaction to the Russian missile strike on Kramatorsk’s Ria pizza restaurant, which took 13 lives and wounded more than 60 people. Kramatorsk is the biggest, safest and most accessible town close to the Russian-Ukrainian frontline. Before the full-scale invasion, up to 200,000 people lived there; 80,000 now remain, including military personnel coming for a break, volunteers and journalists. Still, the services on offer are limited, so a central, well-run restaurant with quality wifi, space for meetings and quick meals will always be crowded. I remember Ria’s young waiters always providing perfect service, knowing that everybody was in a rush. Some of them are now among the dead.

The second thought after this new attack was: who was there? One visitor, Victoria Amelina, a famous Ukrainian writer, was left in a critical condition. We learned yesterday that she passed away after five days in hospital. Amelina was a war crimes researcher – last Sunday, a day before her Kramatorsk trip, she was at the Arsenal book festival in Kyiv moderating a panel on “What kind of crime is Russia committing?” at my invitation. Beforehand we prepared together, chatting about how hard it is for us to travel outside Ukraine, and how we drum up the strength and spirit to carry on. We felt defiant. The book festival was our celebration of Ukrainian resilience.

Read the full story in The Guardian here.


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