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Russian UN rep claims ‘high-ranking nationalists’ present at Hroza funeral, implies responsibility for deadly strike

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 9, 2023 11:10 PM 2 min read
Vasily Nebenzya, Russia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, speaking at the Security Council meeting on maintenance of peace and security of Ukraine on Oct. 9, 2023. (Screenshot) 
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Russia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya implied Russia's responsibility for strike on the village of Hroza in Kharkiv Oblast on Oct. 5, while speaking at a UN Security Council meeting on Oct. 9.

Nebenzya claimed during the session that at the time of the strike, "there was a funeral being held for a high-ranking Ukrainian nationalist," and that when soldiers are concentrated in any given place, "they become a legitimate target."

The strike on a cafe in Hroza killed 52 people, including a six-year-old boy, according to the local authorities.

"The majority of the bodies were men of conscription age," Nebeznya noted, without claiming directly that these men were soldiers.

All of the victims were local civilians, who had gathered in a cafe for a memorial service for a fallen soldier who was being reburied in the village.

The attack wiped out over half of the village's population in what became the single deadliest Russian attack against civilians in 2023.

The attack occurred at around 1 p.m. local time, and the rescue operation lasted seven hours. The recovery operation to find bodies, many of which could only be identified from DNA samples, lasted into the following afternoon.

Nebenzya repeated a Russian propaganda claim that Russia does not target civilians, claiming that "our high precision weapons" are only used to destroy Ukraine's military capacity.  

"Placing heavy weaponry and missile defenses in residential areas is a serious violation [of international humanitarian law] and leads to the type of tragedy we have talked about today," he added, adding to the heavily-implied admission that Russia carried out the strike on Hroza.

‘Every family affected’: Devastated village copes with aftermath of Russian strike on funeral
Hroza, Kharkiv Oblast - Serhii Pletinka rushed to the scene just after a Russian Iskander-M missile struck a packed cafe in the village of Hroza in Kharkiv Oblast. A soldier on vacation who lives just across the street from the cafe was the first to witness the fire, screams, and
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