Deadly Russian missile strike claims 51 lives in Ukrainian Village, including child


Ukraine has reported that a Russian missile strike, one of the deadliest attacks in the ongoing conflict, resulted in the deaths of at least 51 individuals, including a child.

The strike occurred in a village near the eastern Ukrainian city of Kupiansk on Thursday. The attack targeted a cafe and a shop in Hroza, situated in the Kharkiv region, shortly after midday local time, according to Ukrainian Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko.

Following the strike, scenes unfolded with emergency workers navigating through the dense rubble. Medical professionals are attending to six individuals injured in the attack. The bodies of the deceased, which included a 6-year-old boy, were recovered from the destroyed structures, as reported by Oleh Synehubov, a regional military official.

The Ukrainian interior minister noted that 29 victims have been identified while the remaining bodies were transported to facilities in the city of Kharkiv.

The village store housed local residents when the missile struck, leading to a level of devastation not seen since an earlier attack on a railway station in Kramatorsk in early 2022 that claimed the lives of more than 60 individuals.


Tragically, the village cafe was hosting a wake for a fallen Ukrainian soldier when the missile hit, resulting in the loss of several members of the soldier’s family, according to Dmytro Chubenko, spokesperson for the Kharkiv Regional Prosecutor’s Office.

The fallen Ukrainian soldier had previously been laid to rest in the city of Dnipro but his relatives had wanted him reburied in his original hometown, Chubenko explained. He further stated, “The wake was attended by the son of the deceased, who was also a soldier. The son, along with his wife and mother, were in a cafe and were killed by a rocket.”

The attack has reportedly devastated approximately one-fifth of the village’s population, which was home to 330 people.

A similar attack occurred in the nearby town of Pervomaiske, where people were also paying their respects to a fallen soldier, according to Chubenko. He noted, “His fellow soldiers were present then. Today, there were only civilians at the site of the attack.”

Ukrainian officials have identified the missile used in the attack as an Iskander missile, known for its relatively short range and carrying a warhead of between 500 and 700 kilograms. These missiles have been frequently employed by Russian forces against Ukraine, resulting in significant civilian casualties.

Hroza is located approximately 40 kilometres from the frontlines of the conflict near Kupiansk, a city in the Kharkiv region that Russian forces had seized early in the conflict but lost a year ago. Since then, the Ukrainian military has been working to resist Moscow’s advances, with the city’s strategic importance in preventing Russia from accessing the nearby Oskil River.

Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov has emphasized the need for more defence systems to protect the country from such acts of terror, especially as concerns grow regarding dwindling military aid from Western allies. Political turmoil in the US Congress and depleted ammunition stocks among NATO countries pose potential threats to the flow of military assistance to Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the attack as “a demonstrably brutal Russian crime” and called for an end to Russian terror. He urged international unity in addressing this aggression, stating, “Russia needs this and similar terrorist attacks for one thing only: to make its genocidal aggression the new normal for the whole world.”

Zelensky sought reassurance from European leaders to preserve unity in the face of Russia’s invasion and expressed the need for coordinated efforts with international support to halt further loss of life.

The UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Ukraine denounced the attack as a war crime, emphasizing that targeting civilians or launching disproportionate attacks constitutes such a crime. Denise Brown said, “Our thoughts are also with the people of Ukraine, who had to witness today, once again, another barbaric consequence of Russia’s invasion.”

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