GROZA: Grieving families buried their loved ones on Monday (Oct 9) in the eastern Ukraine village of Groza, which was targeted by Russian missiles in an attack that killed more than 50 people.
Some 30 graves have already been dug for burial at the cemetery in the small village which now numbers around 330 inhabitants, down from 500 when the conflict began.
Four of the victims were laid to rest on Monday, following three burials over the weekend.
Last Thursday the village – which survived Russian occupation between February and September 2022 – endured one of the deadliest strikes of the war.
After the deadly attack, rescue workers recovered several dismembered or decapitated bodies, bearing witness to the force of the explosion of the missile.
According to a police source in Kharkiv, a city further north where the remains were transported for the investigation, three bodies remain unidentified.
The death toll stands at 52, including a six-year-old child.
Irina, aged 57, and her brother Oleksandre, 59, were buried on Monday in a religious ceremony with songs and prayers, in the presence of an Orthodox priest.
Before being placed in the graves, the two coffins were laid side by side during the ceremony.
Two other women were buried in Groza in separate short ceremonies, with a few relatives in attendance.
Other victims have been buried in nearby villages, as the remains of their loved ones have been gradually returned to the families.
Thursday’s strike by the Russian Iskander missile, according to the Ukrainian authorities, reduced to rubble a shop and a cafe in a building where around sixty people had gathered for the funeral of a soldier in the middle of the day.
After the tragedy, police in the Kharkiv region said an investigation was focusing in particular on “identifying people who may have been involved” in the bombing.
Groza residents said it was possible that someone gave the Russians information about the place and time of the gathering for the soldier’s funeral.
Located 35 kilometres from the front-line fighting, the village was occupied from the early days of the Russian invasion in February 2022.