Colombian president announces diplomatic protest after Russian missile strike in Ukraine

Colombian president announces diplomatic protest after Russian missile strike in Ukraine

Attack on Kramatorsk killed 11 people and injured at least 56, including three Colombians

By Laura Gamba

BOGOTA, Colombia (AA) - Colombian President Gustavo Petro said Wednesday that his government would send a note of diplomatic protest to Russia after three Colombian citizens were wounded in a Russian missile attack on the city of Kramatorsk in eastern Ukraine that left 11 dead and at least 56 injured.

Sergio Jaramillo, who served as chief peace negotiator for the Colombian government, writer Hector Abad Faciolince and journalist Catalina Gómez Ángel had traveled to Ukraine for a book fair in Kyiv and were inside a restaurant in Kramatorsk when the missile landed on Tuesday.

“Russia has attacked three defenseless Colombian civilians. It thus violates the protocols of war. The Foreign Ministry must deliver a diplomatic note of protest,” said Petro on Twitter. “We await the safe and sound return to their homes of Sergio, Hector and Catalina.”

They were the most direct statements made by the government of President Petro, who until now had not referred to Russia's actions.

The three Colombians were in the company of Ukrainian writer Victoria Amelina, who according to a statement from Jaramillo and Faciolince, "is in critical condition due to a skull injury." Jaramillo, Faciolince and Gomez suffered minor injuries and were treated at a local hospital.

The missile exploded in a busy area full of apartment buildings, outlets and restaurants in Kramatorsk, which is located in the Donetsk region. So far, 11 people have been killed in the attack, including 14-year-old twins Yuliya and Anna Aksenchenko. A 17-year-old girl was also killed and a baby suffered head injuries.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy condemned the attack in his nightly address.

“Today, the Russian terrorists…brutally bombarded Kramatorsk (with) S-300 missiles,” he said. “My condolences to the family members and friends” of those killed.

Ukraine’s intelligence agency said it had arrested a resident who allegedly helped coordinate the strike by sending video footage of the restaurant to the Russian military.

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