A purported missile strike has killed 51 people, officials have said
Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of killing 51 people who were reportedly attending a soldier’s funeral in a small community in Kharkov Region on Thursday.
Local officials described the victims as residents of Groza, a village with a reported population of 330. They had apparently come to a small establishment that was hosting a private ceremony for a local man who had been killed early in the conflict with Russia. His remains were recently exhumed and brought to Groza for reburial, according to local media.
Groza is located some 30km west of Kupyansk, a major flashpoint between Ukrainian and Russian forces on the northern part of the frontline. Ukraine’s Interior Ministry claimed the strike involved a Russian ground-launched Iskander missile.
The Russian Defense Ministry has not commented on the accusations. However, when asked about the Groza incident on Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reiterated Moscow’s stated military policy of not targeting civilian sites. Russian attacks “are only delivered at military infrastructure and locations where troops and military leadership congregate,” he said.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky branded the tragedy a “demonstratively brutal crime” and an “intentional terrorist attack” by Russia, offering no evidence of the claim.
During the incident, the Ukrainian president was attending a conference in Granada, Spain. He sought to secure continued military and civilian assistance for Kiev from EU partners at the event amid uncertainty that one of Ukraine’s largest benefactors, the US, may not pass more Kiev-related funding through Congress in light of recent political turmoil. In his remarks, which centered on condemning Russia’s military operation, he stressed the importance of his mission to rally European support.
The Ukrainian leader had previously blamed Russia for several deadly incidents, although the evidence did not support such conclusions. Last month, he accused Moscow of deliberately striking a marketplace in the Donbass city of Konstantinovka. The attack happened on the day US Secretary of State Antony Blinken was visiting Kiev and showcased “the audacity of evil,” according to Zelensky.
The New York Times later reported that evidence discovered by its investigators indicated that the missile was Ukrainian. The newspaper said the footage of the strike, forensic evidence at the scene, and eyewitness reports of a Ukrainian launch from a nearby location all pointed toward a mishap by Kiev’s forces.
Last week, Polish authorities confirmed that a Ukrainian missile was responsible for the deaths of two Polish farmers in a border village last November. Zelensky claimed from the start that the incident was a Russian attack on “collective security” and insisted that Moscow was guilty despite an announcement from Warsaw early into the probe that Ukrainian troops likely fired the projectile.
October 06, 2023 at 04:37PM