A man mourns amid rescue efforts after a Russian missile strike on Hroza in northeast Ukraine, October 5, 2023 (EPA)

Thursday’s Coverage: Russia Kills 51+ in Food Shop in Kharkiv

Map: Institute for the Study of War


Ukraine’s Air Force says air defenses downed 25 of 32 Iranian-made attack drones launched by Russia overnight.

Air defenses intercepted drones over the Odesa, Mykolaiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Cherkasy, and Zhytomyr regions. Port infrastructure and a grain silo was damaged on the Danube River in the Odesa region.


Implicitly denying that he assassinated Wagner Group mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, Vladimir Putin has claimed that Prigozhin’s jet was downed on August 24 by hand grenades which detonated.

Prigozhin, Wagner’s military commander Dmitry Utkin, another commander, four bodyguards, and the crew of three died in the crash in the Tula region north of Moscow.

Putin told a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club on Thursday that Russia’s Investigative Committee had told him of its findings: “Fragments of hand grenades were found in the bodies of those killed in the crash.”

He insisted that no evidence had been found of a bomb or a strike by an anti-aircraft missile: “There was no external impact on the plane – this is already an established fact.”

The Russian leader insinuated that those on the plane were taking drugs: “Unfortunately, no examination was carried out to determine the presence of alcohol or drugs in the blood of the victims — although we know … that the [State security service] FSB discovered not only 10bn roubles in cash, but also 5 kg of cocaine.”

ORIGINAL ENTRY: In its latest mass killing of Ukraine’s civilians, Russia has slain 51 people, including a 8-year-old child, in a strike on a food shop and a cafe in Hroza in the Kharkiv region.

The Russians attacked during lunchtime on Thursday as 60 residents of the village, with a population of about 330, were gathered to honor a soldier who was being reburied. The victims were eating a meal after the memorial service.

Rescue workers, working through mounds of debris, and laid out bodies in a field next to a children’s playground. Some were placed in white body bags, others were covered by carpets or other materials.

Regional police investigator Serhiy Bolvinov said, “It’s difficult to talk about this, but we only found bits and pieces and remains of the bodies. We’ll use DNA laboratories to identify the bodies.”

The widow, son, and daughter-in-law of the soldier being reburied were among the dead.

Volodymyr Mukhovaty, 70, lost his family. He had “little hope” of finding his wife and daughter-in-law alive, adding, “My son was just found without a head, without arms, without legs, without anything. They recognized him from his documents.”

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, visiting Granada in Spain for the European Political Community summit, broke the news:

[This is] a demonstrably brutal Russian crime — a rocket attack on an ordinary grocery store, a completely deliberate terrorist attack.

Russian terror must be stopped. Anyone who helps Russia circumvent sanctions is a criminal. Everyone who still supports Russia is supporting evil. Russia needs this and similar terrorist attacks for one thing only: to make its genocidal aggression the new normal for the whole world.

Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said initial evidence indicated the Russians used an Iskander missile. Defense Minister Rustem Umerov elaborated:

The terrorists deliberately carried out the attack during lunchtime, to ensure a maximum number of casualties. There were no military targets there. This is a heinous crime intended to scare Ukrainians.

“This Was No Blind Strike”

There was international condemnation of the mass murder. UK Prime Minister said the attack “demonstrated the depths of depravity Russian forces are willing to sink to”. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in Washington:

Let’s stop and think about what we’re seeing: 49 innocent people who were killed by a Russian airstrike while they were shopping for food at a supermarket. That’s what they were doing.

Can you imagine just walking to the grocery store with your kids, trying to figure out what is it that you’re going to make for dinner, and you see an explosion happen where bodies are everywhere. And it’s horrifying.

European Union foreign policy head Josep Borrell pledged, “Russia’s leadership, all commanders, perpetrators and accomplices of these atrocities will be held to account. There will be no impunity for war crimes.”

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock tweeted, “As long as bombs rain down on supermarkets and cafes, we do everything for Ukraine to protect itself from Putin’s missile terror”:

The strike came as Zelenskiy, at the European Political Community meeting, reiterated his call for provision of effective air defense.

In his nightly address to the nation, he summarized:

A deliberate missile strike on a village in Kharkiv region on an ordinary store and cafe.

Russian troops could not have been unaware of where they were hitting. This was no blind strike.

The Kremlin and Russian Defense Ministry did not comment on the killings.