Ukrainian officials said dozens of people were killed in a Russian attack that ripped through a cafe during a wake service for a fallen soldier in a village in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine, with emergency crews scrambling through the debris in search of more casualties in one of the most deadly single assaults of the war.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said condemned the attack, which came as he met with European leaders in the Spanish city of Granada on October 5 for a summit where he is stepping up efforts to secure more military aid for Ukraine in its fight to repel Russia’s unprovoked invasion amid signs in some allies of donor fatigue as the war nears its 20th month.
“A brutal Russian crime…an absolutely deliberate terrorist attack,” Zelenskiy wrote on Telegram.
Zelenskiy later said that Russia’s attack was an intentional act.
“A deliberate missile strike on a village in the Kharkiv region on an ordinary store and cafe,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video address, which he recorded in Spain.
“Russian troops could not have been unaware of where they were hitting. This was no blind strike,” he said.
He added that he had reached agreements with European leaders for additional air-defense systems, including for a Patriot missile system from Germany.
“We will have more air defense. There are clear agreements. This is very important before winter. Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Great Britain — thank you!” he said.
Kharkiv regional Governor Oleh Synyehubov put the number of dead in the attack at 51, including a 6-year-old child.
By late evening, Ukraine’s emergency service said rescue operations had been completed and that an additional six people were injured in the attack.
The strike ignited international condemnation, with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres demanding that such attacks be halted immediately.
“Attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure are prohibited under international humanitarian law, and they must stop immediately,” Guterres’s spokesman said in a statement.
Denise Brown, the UN humanitarian envoy for Ukraine, said she was “appalled by the reports of a Russian strike that, shortly ago, ripped apart the village of Hroza, in the Kharkiv region, killing dozens of civilians. The images arriving from the locality — home to just above 300 people — are absolutely horrifying.”
The White House called the attack “incredibly horrifying for the people of Ukraine.”
“This is why we’re doing everything that we can to help Ukraine,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
It was not immediately clear if the attack was carried out with a missile or a drone, or whether it was the result of shelling.
Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said residents of the village were attending a memorial service in the cafe when the attack occurred.
WATCH: Dozens of people, including a 6-year-old child, were killed in a Russian attack that hit a cafe during a wake service in a village in the Kharkiv region of northeastern Ukraine on October 5, according to Ukrainian officials.
“There was a wake for the deceased fellow villager. In total, there are 300 residents in the village, one from each [residence] was at the wake,” said Klymenko, who added that many victims were still trapped in the ruins.
A local official said the wake was for a Ukrainian soldier killed earlier in the war.
Russia, which routinely denies it targets civilian areas despite widespread evidence of such attacks, did not immediately comment.
Zelenskiy and 46 other heads of state are attending the third meeting of the European Political Community — a unique forum for political exchanges between the EU’s 27 members and 20 other nations from across the continent and the Caucasus.
“Our joint goal is to ensure the security and stability of our common European home,” Zelenskiy wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter.
“We are working together with partners on enhancing the European security architecture, particularly regional security. Ukraine has substantial proposals in this regard,” Zelenskiy added while reiterating that Ukraine’s top priority is enhancing its air defenses before the onset of the cold season.
Ukraine’s energy infrastructure was relentlessly pounded by Russia last winter, prompting misery and suffering for Ukrainian civilians.
Zelenskiy’s trip came after regional authorities reported that three civilians had been killed by Russian shelling over the past 24 hours — one in Donetsk region and two in the city of Kherson.
Overnight, Russian and Ukrainian forces exchanged drone strikes that caused infrastructure damage in central Ukraine and extensive blackouts in a Russian border region.
Ukrainian air defenses shot down 24 out of the 29 Iranian drones launched from Crimea on the southern regions of Odesa and Mykolayiv, and on the central Kirovohrad region, the General Staff of Ukraine’s military said in a statement.
There were no immediate reports of casualties.
WATCH: Sharing battle footage recorded on their body cameras, Ukrainian soldiers recounted their role in liberating Russian-occupied Klishchiyivka in the Donetsk region. Speaking to RFE/RL’s Maryan Kushnir, they described chaos among the enemy as some tried to surrender while other Russian troops fought to the end.
In Russia’s Kursk region, which borders Ukraine, electricity was cut off in some areas following a Ukrainian drone strike overnight, regional Governor Roman Starovoit said early on October 5.
“There are power outages. Emergency crews have begun restoring the electricity supply,” Starovoit wrote on his Telegram channel.
Starovoit said the strike targeted the region’s Sudzhansky, Korenevsky, and Glushkovsky districts that border Ukraine’s Sumy region. The SHOT Telegram channel, citing sources, said 67 settlements were left without electricity. The information could not be independently verified.
Russia, which has launched countless deadly drone and missile attacks on Ukrainian cities and energy infrastructure since the start of its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February last year, has been in recent months subjected itself to increasingly frequent aerial and naval drone strikes targeting regions close to the border and even Moscow.