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Ukraine war latest: All 59 people killed in Hroza identified; Russia intensifies offensive in Avdiivka direction

by Daria Shulzhenko and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 12, 2023 10:24 PM 6 min read
Ukrainian soldiers fire artillery on Russian positions on the front line in the city of Avdiivka, Donetsk Oblast, on July 27, 2023. (Photo by Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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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.

‘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

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.

Ukraine faces onslaught at Avdiivka as Russia launches new offensive
After months of a relatively static siege, Russian forces launched a heavy assault in the direction of the front-line town of Avdiivka, backed up by armor, artillery, and air strikes. The Ukrainian military has reported unusually heavy fighting over the past three days as Russia encroaches on the m…

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.

Zelensky, partners meet in Brussels to boost military support for Ukraine ahead of winter
Ukrainian leaders and NATO defense ministers have convened in Brussels on Oct. 11 for a two-day summit to mobilize allied support for Kyiv ahead of the coming winter. In a surprise visit, President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived at NATO headquarters this morning as alliance officials prepare for the 16…

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.

Uncertain Triumph: Ukraine picks apart Russia’s best air defenses in Crimea
The past month has not been kind to Russia’s forces in occupied Crimea. In a span of weeks, a ship, a submarine, and multiple air defense systems were destroyed. Ukraine said these targets included Russia’s S-400 surface-to-air missile systems, optimistically named the Triumph. Purported videos of…

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.

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Editor’s note: The location of the prisoner of the war detention center is undisclosed for security reasons. The Kyiv Independent got vocal recorded agreement from the prisoners of the war to be interviewed and identified in the story. Undisclosed location in Western Ukraine – Private Alexey Girkin…
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