By Simon Lewis
KRAMATORSK, Ukraine (Reuters) -At least one person was killed and six wounded in a Russian missile strike in the heart of the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk on Thursday, the top regional official said.
Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the Donetsk region, said the missile had damaged six buildings including a hotel and an apartment bloc in the large industrial hub.
“A Russian missile hit the centre of Kramatorsk. It’s known for sure that one person was killed and six wounded, but these figures may change,” he said.
“This is a deliberate attack on civilians. … This will continue until we drive them out.”
A Reuters reporter in Kramatorsk saw a crater several metres deep where the missile had landed, in a courtyard between residential buildings. Trees had been ripped up and several cars turned over and badly damaged.
Every window in the surrounding homes had been destroyed. Residents, some with bandages over fresh wounds, collected rubble from their apartments and threw it out into the courtyard. A soldier combed the crater for remnants of the missile.
The nearby city of Sloviansk, also in the Donetsk region, also came under fire. Mayor Vadym Lyakh said there had been casualties but gave no further details.
Russia, which invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, did not immediately comment on the situation in Kramatorsk or Sloviansk. It has denied deliberately targeting civilians.
After effectively establishing control of the neighbouring Luhansk region, Moscow has made clear it is planning to capture parts of the Donetsk region that its forces have not yet seized.
Ukrainian officials have said they expect Kramatorsk and Sloviansk to become the next focus of Russia’s offensive.
Three civilians were also wounded by Russian fire in the Kharkiv region next to both the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, the Kharkiv region administration said.
(Additional reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic and Alexander WinningEditing by Timothy Heritage and Bill Berkrot)