Ukrainian mum, author killed after Russian missile hits pizza restaurant

The writer and mother was critically wounded in the Russian attack on Kramatorsk, and succumbed to her injuries three days later.

An award-winning Ukrainian writer and mother has died after a Russian missile hit a pizza restaurant in eastern Ukraine.

Victoria Amelina, 37, was dining with a group of Colombian journalists and writers in the city of Kramatorsk when the strike hit on Tuesday, BBC reports.

The attack killed 12 people, including 14-year-old twins, and left around 60 others injured – leading human rights activists to label it a war crime. Ms Amelina, who has a young son, was the 13th person to die in the explosion.

Victoria Amelina wears a bullet proof vest as she travels in a car in Ukraine.
Victoria Amelina died three days after the missile strike in eastern Ukraine. Source: Twitter

She was rushed to hospital, but succumbed to her injuries three days later, PEN Ukraine – an organisation of writers dedicated to protecting authors’ rights and freedom of speech – said in a statement.

"It is with great pain that we inform you that the heart of the writer Victoria Amelina stopped beating on 1 July," the statement read.

"In the last days of Victoria's life, her family and friends were by her side."

Twitter post captured author's anguish over Russian attacks

Ms Amelina posted frequently about the war on her Twitter account, and would share her anger and devastation over the deaths of fellow civilians.

Victoria Amelina speaks at a public discussion during the 29th Lviv Book Forum on October 9, 2022 in Lviv, Ukraine.
Ms Amelina was dining with other writers at a popular restaurant when it was hit by a Russian missile strike. Source: Getty

A photo from last year pinned to the top of her Twitter page shows her standing in front of a crumbling high-rise building, taking a photo of the destruction on her phone.

Wearing a long black dress with her hair in a loose ponytail and a tote bag over her shoulder, Ms Amelina noted the juxtaposition between her casual appearance and the traumatic scenes in front of her.

“It's me in this picture,” she wrote on the post from June last year.

“I'm a Ukrainian writer. I have portraits of great Ukrainian poets on my bag. I look like I should be taking pictures of books, art, and my little son. But I document Russia's war crimes and listen to the sound of shelling, not poems. Why?"

Ms Amelina helped to unearth the diary of fellow Ukrainian writer Volodymyr Vakulenko, who was illegally detained and killed by Russian soldiers at the start of the war. The diary was buried in his garden and found by Ms Amelina after his death, with the help of his father. Three weeks ago, she shared that she had just completed the foreword for the diary, which is being turned into a book exposing Russian atrocities.

Her first non-fiction book in English, War and Justice Diary: Looking at Women Looking at War, is due to be published.

A man stands on a street in front of a shop and restaurant RIA Pizza destroyed by a Russian attack in Kramatorsk.
A man stands on a street in front of a shop and restaurant RIA Pizza destroyed by a Russian attack in Kramatorsk. Source: Ukrainian Donetsk Regional Administration via AP

Russia ‘stronger’ after mutiny, foreign minister claims

Russia will emerge stronger after a failed mutiny by Wagner Group mercenaries so the West need not worry about stability in the world's biggest nuclear power, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says.

President Vladimir Putin this week thanked the army and security forces for averting what he said could have been a civil war and has compared the mutiny led by Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin to the chaos that plunged Russia into revolution in 1917.

Asked by Reuters if Russia was stable and if he could give assurances to the world that Russia was not slipping into turmoil, Lavrov said Moscow was not obliged to explain anything or give any assurances to anyone.

"If anyone in the West has any doubts, then that's your problem," Lavrov said at a news conference in Moscow. "Thank you for your concerns about our national interests, but there is no need. Russia has always emerged more resilient and stronger after any difficulties – and it is hard to call it anything more than difficulties.'

The foreign minister said Moscow had doubts about the adequacy of many Western leaders.

with Reuters

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