Russia-Ukraine War Latest: Russia’s Strike On Ukraine Leaves 51 Dead

Russia-Ukraine War Latest: Russia's Strike On Ukraine Leaves 51 Dead

People from “every family” in Ukraine’s north-eastern village of Hroza have been affected by a missile attack that killed 51 people on Thursday, Ukraine’s interior minister has said.

A six-year-old child was among the victims when a cafe was hit during a wake in the Kharkiv region.

“From every household there were people present”, Ihor Klymenko said.

Ukraine’s defence ministry blamed Russia for the attack, and said there were no military targets in the area.

Russia has not directly commented on the strike.

But on Friday Russian state news agency Ria Novosti reported that the Russian military had carried out 20 air and artillery strikes on Ukrainian targets in the Kupyansk district – where Hroza village is located. It did not say when the strikes were carried our or mention the village of Hroza.

Members of the village had been attending the funeral of a Ukrainian soldier, who was a local resident, when the missile struck on Thursday.

Interfax Ukraine news agency quoted local prosecutor Dmytro Chubenko as saying that the man’s widow was among the dead, as well as their son and daughter-in-law.

The soldier had previously been buried in Dnipro, but his relatives said they wanted to rebury him in his home village.

People who had attended the service were sitting down for a meal when the missile hit the cafe that also served as a grocery store in the village, officials said.

Preliminary information suggested that an Iskander ballistic missile hit the building, Mr Klymenko said.

Speaking to Radio 4’s World Tonight, Maria Avdeeva, a Ukrainian security analyst and journalist, said someone may have told the Russian military about the wake.

“We can presume that someone give out the information about the place and the time of the gathering of these people,” she said.

“From what we see now on Russian propaganda channels, they circulate information that there were military gathering for the funeral, which is false and untrue because this were mainly a civilian ceremony.”

Kharkiv regional head Oleh Synyehubov described the attack as one of the region’s “bloodiest crimes”.

“One fifth of this village has died in a single terrorist attack,” he said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the act “couldn’t even be called a beastly act – because it would be an insult to beasts”.

The attack has also led to international condemnation.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the attack “demonstrated the depths of depravity Russian forces are willing to sink to”. His comments came after he had earlier met Mr Zelensky on Thursday at a summit in Spain for the European Political Community, an intergovernmental forum established last year partly in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre described the strike as “horrifying” and said it demonstrated why it was so important the Ukrainian people continued to receive international support.

The incident comes as opposition to continued funding for Ukraine is facing growing opposition in the US House of Representatives.

The Kupyansk district has been on the front line of clashes between Russian and Ukrainian armies since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

It was a major supply hub for Russian forces at the start of the war, but Kyiv recaptured it in September 2022 after months of fighting.

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