- By Mayeni Jones & James Gregory
- In Kiev and London
Russian missiles hit the center of Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine, killing four people and wounding several others, Ukrainian officials said.
A restaurant and shopping area were hit in Tuesday’s strike on the city, which is under Ukrainian control but is close to Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine.
People may be trapped under the debris and rescue operations are underway.
An eyewitness told the BBC there were “dead people, people screaming, people crying, great chaos”.
A 17-year-old girl was reportedly among those killed in the attack, which took place at around 19:30 local time (16:30 GMT).
Officials said apartment buildings were also at the epicenter of the blast.
Social media and drone footage from the scene showed significant damage to buildings, some of which had collapsed.
Belgian freelance journalist Arnaud de Decker told BBC Newshour that he was at the popular Rhea Lounge restaurant moments before it was struck.
“There are still people under the rubble because it’s a big restaurant,” he said.
“Now I can hear people screaming under the rubble and rescuers are trying to save them.”
He estimated that 80 employees and customers were on the restaurant premises during the strike, so he feared the death toll could be “severe”.
Officials say at least 40 people were injured, including an eight-month-old baby and three foreigners.
A rescue operation is currently underway in the city centre, with emergency services at the scene and security systems helping to evacuate victims.
Local officials say there was a large gathering of civilians in the area when the missiles hit.
“This is the city center. These are public eating places,” regional governor Pavlo Kyrilenko told Ukrainian television.
Mr de Decker described the restaurant as a local “cooing hub” that was popular with soldiers, journalists and volunteers.
Russian forces also targeted a nearby village, the Kramatorsk city council said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelesnky said the attack proved to Ukraine and the world that Russia “deserves only defeat and a court, fair and legal courts against all Russian murderers and terrorists.”
The White House condemned Russia’s “brutal attacks” on Ukraine.
Kramatorsk has been mostly targeted by missiles since the invasion began in February 2022.
The city of 150,000 people is one of the largest Ukrainian-held cities in the besieged east. It is about 30 km (18 mi) from the front line.
The latest attack comes after President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine’s counteroffensive was progressing on all fronts.