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War in Ukraine: 51 dead, including a child… what we know about the attack on the village of Groza

These Ukrainians gathered after the funeral. Fifty-one people, including a child, were killed this Thursday in a Russian strike in Groza, a small village in eastern Ukraine. Six people were injured. Regional governor Oleg Sinegubov condemned the deadliest attack in the Kharkiv region since the Russian invasion began in 2022 and declared three days of mourning there.

On Friday morning, another Russian bombing in Karchowa, in the same eastern region, killed a child and wounded 23 people, including an eleven-month-old child.

What’s happened ?

On Thursday at 13:15 local time, an explosion completely destroyed a store and cafe located in the same building, where there were about sixty people.

“There were villagers in the store, villagers also gathered in the cafe” for a reception after the burial of a Ukrainian soldier, said Interior Minister Igor Klimenko. The village of Groza had a population of 330. The death toll is very high: fifty-one people died, including a child born in 2017.

According to Klimenko’s initial testimony, the bombing of Groza was carried out using an Iskander ballistic missile, a weapon available to the Russians, but not to the Ukrainians.

Who are the victims?

Among the 51 victims of the strike are the wife and son of a Ukrainian soldier killed in battle, whose funeral was being celebrated, a representative of the regional prosecutor’s office reported, citing the Interfax-Ukraine agency.

70-year-old villager Vladimir Mukhovaty told AFP that his son was one of the victims. “My son was just taken out, without a head, without arms, without legs… He was recognized by his documents, his driver’s license,” he said. The man feared that his wife, with whom he had lived for 48 years, and their daughter-in-law were among the dead.

“My wife and daughter-in-law… They may have been torn to pieces, how do I know?” At the moment they have not been found,” continues Vladimir, wearing a black T-shirt and very short gray hair. He hopes both women are among the injured taken away by ambulances, but admits there is “little hope.” “I won’t live long alone,” he said.

Around 19:00 (1700 GMT), after dark, AFP journalists saw blue-gloved soldiers one by one loading white bags containing lifeless bodies into one of their trucks.

About twenty of these bags were still lined up in front of the small, completely destroyed cafe where these people had gathered. A little further, near a portal with two swings, small piles of unidentified body parts lay.

Less than an hour later, rescuers declared the end of work at the site, leaving the final tally at 51 dead and six injured.

What are the reactions?

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in Spain for a meeting with European leaders, condemned the “inhumane terrorist attack” on the city, located in the Kharkiv region, near Kupyansk, a city close to the front line that is regularly the target of Russian strikes.

“It is possible to protect people from such attacks (…) only with the help of air defense systems,” added Vladimir Zelensky, speaking about the delivery of the new American Patriot system to Ukraine.

“We will have more air defense (…) Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Great Britain – thank you! “,” he insisted that evening.

Berlin will do “everything possible” so that “Ukraine can protect itself from the terror of Putin’s missiles,” responded German Foreign Minister Annalena Bärbock on X (ex-Twitter).

“We must continue to stand with the Ukrainian people because this is the terrible reality they live in,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre commented daily as President Joe Biden tries to “get more money from Congress.” help Kyiv.

French diplomacy condemned Moscow’s strike “in the strongest possible terms,” ​​adding in a press release that “by deliberately targeting the civilian population of Ukraine, Russia is once again guilty of atrocities amounting to war crimes.” “Russian atrocities are reaching an even more sinister level,” EU diplomacy chief Josep Borrell responded to X.

Where is this area located?

On Thursday evening, hours after the strike, Moscow shot down eight Ukrainian drones in western Russia, the Defense Ministry said, without mentioning possible damage or injuries.

From the first days of the offensive, Russian troops captured significant areas of this province. Ukrainian troops then liberated almost the entire region in a lightning assault in the fall of 2022, but it is regularly hit.

Russia is currently conducting an offensive in the Kupyansk area in an attempt to regain ground and thwart the ongoing Ukrainian counter-offensive in the east and south.

According to the Ukrainian government, at least 26,000 Ukrainians, including 15,000 soldiers, have gone missing since the war began. These are people about whom we have no news “due to military operations,” including in territories occupied by the Russian army, said the minister’s press secretary, Mariana Reva. This number, which may be underestimated, does not include soldiers killed in action.

Source: Le Parisien

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