A report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released on Oct. 31 found that all 59 people killed in Russia's missile attack on the village of Hroza were civilians.
The report summarized the UN's investigation into the Oct. 5 strike on a funeral reception in the Kharkiv Oblast village.
In addition to confirming that those killed were all civilians, the report also said that there are "reasonable grounds to believe that there were no military personnel or any other legitimate military target present at or in proximity to the reception at the café that followed the funeral held at the cemetery outside the village."
As a result, the report said there are two possible conclusions- that Russia "failed to do everything feasible to verify that the target to be attacked was a military objective," or that it "deliberately targeted civilians."
On Oct. 5, a funeral reception was held in Hroza for the reburial of a Ukrainian soldier. At around one p.m., a missile (likely an Iskander ballistic missile) struck the cafe where 63 people were gathered for the memorial lunch. As a result, 36 women, 22 men, and an eight-year-old boy were killed, and another five were injured.
Russia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzya, justified the missile strike, claiming that it was the funeral of "a high-ranking Ukrainian nationalist" and that a concentration of soldiers in any place is a "legitimate target."
It was the deadliest attack against civilians so far in 2023.
According to the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), two Ukrainian collaborators, locals of Kharkiv Oblast, assisted Russian forces with the attack.
The UN investigation entailed a fact-finding mission to Hroza, and interviews with 35 people, as well as the analysis of open-source information and consultation with independent military experts.