More than 50 people were killed in a Russian missile strike on a grocery store in a small town in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine.
The strike appeared to be the deadliest attack against Ukraine’s civilian population since early 2022 soon after the Ukraine-Russia war began.
“This was a fully deliberate, demonstrative, and brutal terrorist attack,” Volodymyr Zelensky wrote on social media. The Ukrainian President noted that the death toll stood at 51 as of Thursday afternoon.
The head of the Kharkiv region, Oleg Sinegubov, said the strike hit a cafe and shop around 1:15pm local time in the village of Hroza, about 20 miles (30 km) outside Kupiansk, a frontline town in Russia’s nearly 20-month-long war on Ukraine.
Zelensky reiterated his call for more air defenses in the aftermath of the strike. “I believe that today it is impossible to protect people, especially during the winter, except by air defense,” he stated.
Amid meetings Thursday with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Zelensky noted that Ukraine will receive six Hawk defense systems from Spain and that Germany will work to provide Kyiv with another Patriot missile defense system.
In Russia, meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin announced Thursday that the military had tested a tested a new generation of nuclear-powered cruise missile.
In 2018 Putin had announced a program to develop the missile with a nuclear propulsion system as part of a broader initiative to develop a new generation of intercontinental and hypersonic missiles.
Russian military expert Alexei Leonkov described the new missile, called the Burevestnik, as a weapon of retaliation.