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Press briefing notes Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Ukraine: Civilians killed in café attack

06 October 2023

Emergency personnel work at a site of a Russian military strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in the village of Hroza, Kharkiv region, Ukraine October 6, 2023 © REUTERS/Thomas Peter


Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Liz Throssell



The appalling scenes from the village of Hroza in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine underscore once again the terrible price civilians are paying 20 months after Russia’s invasion.

According to local authorities, 52 people were killed when what appeared to be a Russian missile struck a café in the village, where people had gathered for a wake.

So far, our colleagues in the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) have established the names of 35 people who were killed – 19 women, 15 men, and an 8-year-old boy, and the names of five women and one man who were injured. One Ukrainian soldier who was attending his father’s funeral was among those killed, according to the authorities.

What is clear is that the strike is one of the deadliest since 24 February 2022, but of course it is far from being the only one. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk, who saw for himself the horrific impact of such strikes, is profoundly shocked and condemns this killing. He has deployed a field team to the site to speak to survivors and gather more information.

Before the Russian invasion, the village’s population was about 300. It is not clear how many residents were still living there, but it is clear that with the high number of people killed, everybody in this small community has been affected. We know at least eight families had more than one relative killed in the attack.

We stress once again that international humanitarian law, in particular the rules on conduct of hostilities, must be strictly respected.

For more information and media requests, please contact:

In Geneva

Liz Throssell + 41 22 917 9296 / [email protected] or

Ravina Shamdasani - + 41 22 917 9169 / [email protected] or

Jeremy Laurence + +41 22 917 9383 / [email protected]

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