Key developments on Oct. 12:
- Interior Minister: All 59 people killed in Russian attack on Hroza attack identified
- Military: Russia intensifies offensive in Avdiivka direction, Ukrainian forces repulse attacks
- Ukraine’s navy spokesperson confirms Russian Black Sea Fleet ship damaged by explosion
- Denmark and Czechia to jointly donate arms to Ukraine
- Reconnaissance group intercepted near the Russian border zone in Sumy Oblast.
The death toll of the Russian missile strike against the village of Hroza in Kharkiv Oblast has risen to 59, Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko reported on Oct. 12.
All of the victims’ bodies have been identified, he said.
On Oct. 5, a Russian Iskander ballistic missile hit a cafe in Hroza during a memorial service for a fallen soldier who was being reburied in the village.
Following the attack, the Kharkiv Oblast Prosecutor's Office spokesman said that the number of people living in the village didn't exceed 100, meaning that the Russian troops "killed most residents of this village with one rocket."
It is the single deadliest Russian attack against civilians in 2023.
"Pensioners, doctors, farmers, teachers, entrepreneurs — all are civilians. Entire families of several generations were killed," Klymenko wrote on Telegram on Oct. 12.
Klymenko said investigators had to rely on mobile DNA laboratories to identify 19 of the victims due to the nature of their injuries. Nearly a week of extensive work was required to collect enough samples and match them with surviving relatives.
"It was important for us to establish the name of each killed person, preserve their memory, and record all the victims of the Russian attack," he wrote.
A week after the strike, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) named two Ukrainian collaborators who allegedly assisted the Russian forces with the attack — brothers Volodymyr Mamon, 30, and Dmytro Mamon, 23. They are wanted in Ukraine.
Military: Russia intensifies offensive in Avdiivka direction, Ukrainian forces repulse attacks
On Oct. 12, Ukraine's Special Operation Forces Command reported that over the past day, its troops destroyed eight units of heavy military equipment and “dozens” of Russian soldiers near Avdiivka in Donetsk Oblast.
Russian troops have intensified the offensive in the direction of Avdiivka over the past three days, reads the report.
Ukrainian forces, however, "thwarted" Russia’s plans, repulsing all attacks and holding their positions, the Special Operation Forces Command said.
According to the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces, Ukrainian troops repelled seven Russian attacks near Avdiivka on Oct. 12.
Avdiivka has stood on the front lines since the very start of Russia's war in 2014.
Success in this sector would not only be a symbolic victory and a morale boost for Russia but, according to some experts, could also open the door to future Russian advances in Donetsk Oblast.
Earlier on Oct. 10, the General Staff reported that up to three Russian battalions – over 2,000 soldiers – supported by tanks and armored vehicles had intensified their operations against Avdiivka.
Around the same time, Russia launched massive strikes against the town, after which even those few residents remaining in the largely ruined settlement began to leave in higher numbers.
"Special attention is currently being paid to Kharkiv Oblast, the South, and Donetsk Oblast at the same time, particularly to the battles in the Avdiivka region. I am grateful to every soldier and every unit for their resilience," President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Oct. 12.
Denmark and Czechia to jointly donate arms to Ukraine
Denmark and Czechia will cooperate in providing Ukraine with armored vehicles and other arms from Czech production lines and stocks in the coming months, the Danish Defense Ministry announced on Oct. 12.
According to the ministry, Ukraine will receive around 50 infantry fighting vehicles and tanks, 2,500 pistols, 7,000 rifles, 500 light machine guns, 500 sniper rifles, electronic warfare, surveillance equipment, and an unspecified amount of artillery shells in the first batch of the newly announced aid.
The two countries expect that future supplies will also include 500 heavy machine guns, 280 artillery pieces, 7,000 anti-tank weapons, 10,000 hand grenades, 60 mortars, and anti-drone systems, the Czech Defense Ministry said.
Based on the agreed scheme, Ukraine will receive weaponry from Czech defense companies, while the Danish government will cover the costs.
The Czech Defense Ministry will serve as a mediator between Copenhagen and the Czech defense industry.
"This is a substantial donation of equipment for which there is a great demand in Ukraine and which has been made possible on the basis of exemplary cooperation between Denmark and Czechia," Danish Defense Minister Lund Poulsen said.
Ukraine’s navy spokesperson confirms Russian Black Sea Fleet ship damaged by explosion
A patrol ship from Russia's Black Sea Fleet, "Pavel Derzhavin," was damaged by an explosion, Ukrainian navy spokesman Dmytro Pletenchuk told the Ukrainian service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on Oct. 12.
Pletenchuk said he could not provide further details on the extent of the damage but confirmed there had been explosions and subsequent damage.
He also did not comment on whether the Pavel Derzhavin was damaged as a result of a Ukrainian strike.
On Oct. 11, local Telegram channels of Russian-occupied Crimea reported explosions and shared some reports that the ship had been damaged.
Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion, Ukrainian forces have repeatedly struck ships from the Black Sea Fleet, causing what U.K. Armed Forces Minister James Heappey characterized as a "functional defeat" of Russia's naval forces in the Black Sea.
According to Ukraine's General Staff, Russia has lost 20 navy ships as of Oct. 12.
Reconnaissance group intercepted near the Russian border zone in Sumy Oblast
Ukraine's Territorial Defense Forces operating in Sumy Oblast intercepted a reconnaissance group of eight Russian soldiers, Lieutenant General Serhii Naiev said on Oct. 12.
The reconnaissance group headed in the direction of local critical infrastructure installations, according to Naiev.
According to him, Ukrainian soldiers fired on the saboteur group, inflicting casualties and forcing them to retreat. Naiev reported no losses on the Ukrainian side.
Russian forces withdrew from Sumy Oblast in April 2022 after the Russian military had been widely routed across the north of Ukraine.
Since then, however, Russia has attacked Sumy Oblast nearly every day, including 286 explosions recorded throughout the day on Oct. 11.