KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — A Russian missile attack killed a 10-year-old boy and his grandmother Friday in the northeastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, officials said. Elsewhere in the region, villagers prepared to bury their dead after a strike the previous day killed at least 51 civilians in one of the deadliest attacks in the war in months.
Associated Press reporters saw emergency crews pulling the boy’s body from the rubble of a building after the early morning attack. He was wearing pajamas with a Spider-Man design.
The strike also killed the boy’s grandmother and wounded an 11-month-old child, Interior Minister Ihor Klymenko said on Telegram. Regional Gov. Oleh Syniehubov said that in all, 30 people were wounded. Rescue operations were continuing.
Officials said preliminary information indicated that the Kremlin’s forces used two Iskander missiles in the attack, the same as in the previous day’s attack on the eastern village of Hroza that killed 51 people.
In Hroza, workers at the local cemetery on Friday cut down trees and mowed grass to prepare graves for those killed. They are to be buried not far from Ukrainian soldier Andrii Kozyr, whose wake they were attending when the strike happened.
Many people in the village of around 300 lost relatives or friends in the attack. They gathered to mourn in groups in the village center, which was largely deserted except for people picking up humanitarian aid, including materials to repair their damaged houses.
In a courtyard near the café wrecked by the missile, people placed candles and flowers to honor the dead.
In Kharkiv city, one of the Friday morning missiles landed in the street, leaving a crater, and the other hit a three-story building, setting it ablaze, according to Syniehubov, the regional governor.
Debris and rubble littered the street. Surrounding buildings were blackened by the blast, which blew out windows and damaged parked cars.
Yevhen Shevchenko, a resident of a nearby nine-story building, said he was in bed when the attack occurred. “There was a blast wave, a powerful explosion. It blew out the windows and doors in the apartment,” he said.
A day earlier, a Russian Iskander ballistic missile turned a village café and store to rubble in Hroza, a village in eastern Ukraine, killing at least 51 civilians, according to Ukrainian officials. Around 60 people, including children, were attending a wake at the café when the missile hit, they said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied on Friday that Russia was responsible for the Hroza attack. He insisted, as Moscow has in the past, that the Russian military doesn’t target civilian facilities.
The Hroza victims made up most of the 54 civilians killed in the country over the previous 24 hours, Ukraine’s presidential office said Friday. It said the U.N. human rights chief, Volker Türk, said he was “shocked and saddened” by the Hroza attack.
The office said on X, formerly Twitter, that its human rights monitors intended to visit the site and collect information. “Accountability is key,” it said.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, attending a summit of about 50 European leaders in Spain to rally support from Ukraine’s allies, called the strike a “demonstrably brutal Russian crime” and “a completely deliberate act of terrorism.”
His visit to the summit aimed to secure more military aid, among other goals, and Zelenskyy said late Thursday that his efforts had produced results.
“We will have more air defense systems,” he wrote on his Telegram channel. “There will be more long-range weapons.”
The air defense systems are crucial as Ukrainian officials try to prevent attacks like the ones in Kharkiv and amid fears Moscow will resume concerted attacks on power facilities during the winter, in a repeat of its tactics from last year when it tried to break the Ukrainians’ morale by denying them electricity.
Zelenskyy is also fighting against signs that Western support for his country’s war effort could be fraying.
Concerns over the resupply of Ukraine’s armed forces have deepened amid political turmoil in the United States and warnings that Europe’s ammunition and military hardware stocks are running low.
The Swedish government said on Friday that it plans to send to Ukraine a military aid package worth 2.2 billion kronor ($199 million), mainly consisting of 155-millimeter artillery ammunition.
“We are preparing for it to be a long war, therefore we need to design our support long-term and sustainably,” Defense Minister Pål Jonson told a press conference. “It is now important that more countries step up to support Ukraine.”
Meantime, Russia scrambled a MiG-31 fighter jet to shadow a U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon patrol plane approaching Russian airspace over the Norwegian Sea, Russia’s Ministry of Defense said.
When the Russian jet approached the U.S. plane, the American aircraft turned away from, and did not cross, the Russian border, the ministry said. It said the Russian fighter jet flew “in strict accordance” with international rules and did not “dangerously approach” the U.S. plane.
Such intercepts have become more frequent. Protocols in both Russia and the West envisage scrambling fighters if a plane from the other side flies close to the border.