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UN report confirms Russian missile killed 59 civilians in Ukraine’s Hroza

A UN investigation found that the Russian army was responsible for the missile attack on a cafe in Hroza, a village in eastern Ukraine, where people were attending a memorial service on 5 October 2023.
A representative of Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) comforts a Ukrainian man who lost his relatives in a Russian missile strike on Hroza in the Kharkiv Oblast. Credit: The UN Human Rights Office.
UN report confirms Russian missile killed 59 civilians in Ukraine’s Hroza

The report by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights confirmed that the missile attack on the village of Hroza in the Kharkiv Oblast (eastern Ukraine) on 5 October 2023 was carried out by the Russian army.

The report (Ukraine: Report into Hroza missile attack) was prepared by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine and published by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on 31 October 2023.

On 5 October, a Russian missile hit a cafe in Hroza where local residents had gathered for a memorial service, killing at least 59 people, according to local authorities. The explosion destroyed the cafe and a small shop.

The missile strike on Hroza was one of the deadliest attacks on civilians since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Everyone in the small village of around 300 people was affected by the Russian missile attack.

“There are reasonable grounds to believe that the missile was launched by Russian armed forces and that there was no indication of military personnel or any other legitimate military targets at or adjacent to the café at the time of the attack,” the UN report concluded.

The report is based on information collected and verified by representatives of the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU), who conducted two fact-finding missions to Hroza on 7 and 10 October 2023. HRMMU’s representatives inspected the site of the blast and interviewed 35 people, including local residents, witnesses, two survivors, medical staff, and morgue employees.

“Our children are gone”: Russian missile strike kills every sixth resident in village

Volodymyr, one of Hroza residents interviewed by HRMMU’s representatives, lost his wife, son, and daughter-in-law in a Russian missile strike on 5 October.

 “I cannot sleep, I cannot eat…I walk around in hope to see my wife showing up from somewhere,” Volodymyr said.

Among those killed was a retired Ukrainian soldier, Denys Kozyr, who was attending his father’s funeral at the cafe. Denys and his father Andrii had joined Ukraine’s Armed Forces after the full-scale Russian invasion began.

The UN representatives found out that all victims (36 women, 22 men, and an 8-year-old boy) of the Russian missile strike on Hroza were civilians.

In many cases, identification was based on DNA tests of the remains of the bodies, as it was impossible to identify the victims otherwise. One of the women was identified only by her manicure.

The report stated that the Russian army “either failed to do everything feasible to verify that the target was a military objective or deliberately targeted civilians or civilian objects.” Either scenario would be a severe violation of international humanitarian law, the report concluded.

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