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Ukrainian man who helped Russia target missile strike on pizzeria jailed for life

In Europe
April 06, 2024

A Ukrainian man has been jailed for life for helping Russia target a missile strike on a pizzeria in the eastern city of Kramatorsk last year.

The 27 June attack on Ria Pizza killed 13 people, including novelist Victoria Amelina, and wounded 61. The attack also destroyed several nearby structures.

“A local resident was sentenced to life imprisonment for guiding the occupiers’ missile attack on the pizzeria in Kramatorsk,” the office of the war-torn country’s prosecutor general said on Wednesday.

The convicted man, whose identity wasn’t immediately known, was recruited by an intelligence operative in the Russia-controlled Donetsk region and tasked with gathering information about the restaurant, the prosecutor general’s office said.

“The convict agreed to the offer,” the office added. “In the city centre, he noticed cars with military licence plates in the car park and military themselves in the restaurant.”

It said the man covertly recorded two videos of the site, which he immediately sent to his handler on Telegram before covering up evidence of his actions.

He was convicted on charges of “confiscation of property for high treason”.

Kramatorsk is a frontline city that houses the Ukrainian army’s regional headquarters. The restaurant was frequented by journalists, aid workers and soldiers, as well as local people.

Ukrainian officials have sped up investigations and criminal cases against citizens suspected of helping and abetting Russian forces who invaded the country in February 2022.

More than 6,600 criminal cases have been opened in Kyiv “against individuals for collaboration and other conflict-related crimes” since the war began, the United Nations said.

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