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Smell of fire and death hangs over eastern Ukrainian city of Pokrovsk

A children’s playground was covered with dust and debris

Gaëlle Girbes, Marc Santora Pokrovsk, Ukraine Published 09.08.23, 11:13 AM
Representational image

Representational image File image

The scene after the attack on the eastern Ukrainian city of Pokrovsk was as grim as it was grimly familiar after almost 18 months of full-scale war.

The smell of fire and death hung heavy on Tuesday morning over the ruins of a hotel, an apartment block and a popular Italian restaurant that were among the buildings destroyed by two Russian missile strikes on Monday night, killing at least seven people and wounding dozens more.


Pools of blood in the rubble were still wet on Tuesday morning, and flesh from bodies ripped apart littered the wreckage. A children’s playground was covered with dust and debris.

The first Iskander missile hit at around 7.15pm (local time) and was aimed at civilians, Ukrainian officials said. At 7:52pm, as firefighters battled the blaze and emergency crews raced to pull people out of the rubble, a second Iskander slammed into the area.

The one-two punch is a tactic that Russia has used before. Ukrainian officials said the timing appeared to have been calculated to kill as many emergency services workers as possible.

The strikes left a hotel in ruins, ripped through the upper floors of a multistory residential building and destroyed an Italian restaurant, Corleone’s, on the ground floor that was popular with volunteers and journalists travelling to the front.

On Tuesday, police officers and prosecutors on the scene said that they were still investigating the circumstances of the attack.

Rescue crews worked through the night to search through the rubble, the only light often cast by the fires burning in the ruins.

Residents gathered outside their ruined homes, waiting to survey the damage and hoping to salvage what they could.

New York Times News Service

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