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UN field team to investigate deadly missile attack in Ukraine’s Hroza

A Russian missile strike killed 52 Ukrainian civilians in the Kharkiv Oblast on 5 October.
Consequences of a missile attack on a grocery store in Hroza village, Kharkiv Oblast. Credit: Prosecutor General’s Office
UN field team to investigate deadly missile attack in Ukraine’s Hroza

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has sent a field team to the village of Hroza (Kharkiv Oblast, eastern Ukraine) to gather more information about the Russian missile attack that killed civilians, according to Liz Throssell, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“Horrifying images from the village of Groza in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine once again highlight the terrible price civilians are paying 20 months after the Russian invasion. According to local authorities, 52 people were killed when an apparently Russian missile hit a cafe in the village where people had gathered for a wake,” Liz Throssell said.

By targeting civilians, Russia violates the laws and customs of war, according to the UN. The representatives of the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine have already identified 35 dead: 19 women, 15 men, and an 8-year-old boy.

According to the Ukrainian authorities, one of the dead was a Ukrainian soldier, Denys Kozyr, who was attending his father’s funeral. Denys and his father, Andrii Kozyr, joined the Ukrainian Armed Forces in 2022 when Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Denys and Andrii were living in Poland when the invasion began but decided to return to Ukraine and protect their country.

Andrii Kozyr was mortally wounded after three days of fighting in 2022. He was buried in the military cemetery. Denys Kozyr continued his service in Ukraine’s Armed Forces but later resigned for health reasons and decided to rebury his father.

Kozyr's family
Denys Kozyr (on the left) and his family.
Credit: UNIAN

About 60 people attended the wake in a cafe in Hroza on 5 October when a Russian missile hit the building where they had a memorial dinner. According to the authorities, 52 people were killed, including Denys Kozyr, his wife, his grandmother, and his wife’s mother.

“Before the Russian invasion, the village had a population of around 300 people. It is not clear how many residents were still living there, but it is clear that with the high number of people killed, everybody in this small community has been affected. We know at least eight families had more than one relative killed in the attack. We stress once again that international humanitarian law, in particular the rules on conduct of hostilities, must be strictly respected,” according to the official statement of the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights noted that this missile strike was “one of the deadliest since 24 February 2022, but certainly not the only one.”

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, condemned the mass murder of Ukrainian civilians by the Russian army in the village of Hroza. Volker Türk sent a field team to the scene in Hroza to talk to survivors and gather more information.

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