Ukrainian officials say a Russian attack on a village cafe killed 48 people

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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian officials said Thursday a Russian attack on a village in the northeast of the country killed 48 people and injured at least six more.

Presidential chief of staff Andrii Yermak and Kharkiv Gov. Oleh Syniehubov said Russian forces shelled a shop and a cafe in the village of Hroza, in the Kharkiv region, around 1 p.m.

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A 6-year-old boy was among those killed in the attack, Syniehubov said, and one child was also among the wounded.

Russia targeted Ukraine with drones in another major attack early Thursday as President Volodymyr Zelenskyy traveled to Spain to rally support from Western allies at a summit of around 50 European leaders.

Ukraine’s air force said that the country’s air defenses intercepted 24 out of 29 Iranian-made drones that Russia launched at the southern Odesa, Mykolaiv and Kirovohrad regions.

Andriy Raykovych, head of the Kirovohrad regional administration, said that an infrastructure facility in the region was struck and emergency services were deployed to extinguish a fire. He said there were no casualties.

The attack came as Zelenskyy arrived in Granada in southern Spain to attend a summit of the European Political Community, which was formed in the wake of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

“The key for us, especially before winter, is to strengthen air defense, and there is already a basis for new agreements with partners,” he said in a statement posted on his Telegram channel.

Last winter, Russia targeted Ukraine’s energy system and other vital infrastructure in a steady barrage of missile and drone attacks, triggering continuous power outages across the country. Ukraine’s power system has shown a high degree of resilience and flexibility, helping alleviate the damage, but there have been concerns that Russia will again ramp up its strikes on power facilities as winter draws nearer.

Zelenskyy noted the Granada summit will also focus on “joint work for global food security and protection of freedom of navigation” in the Black Sea, where the Russian military has targeted Ukrainian ports after Moscow’s withdrawal from a U.N.-sponsored grain deal designed to ensure safe grain exports from the invaded country’s ports.

The U.K. Foreign Office cited intelligence suggesting that Russia may lay sea mines in the approach to Ukrainian ports to target civilian shipping and blame it on Ukraine.

“Russia almost certainly wants to avoid openly sinking civilian ships, instead falsely laying blame on Ukraine for any attacks against civilian vessels in the Black Sea,” it said, adding that the U.K. was working with Ukraine to help improve the safety of shipping.

Speaking in Granada, Zelenskyy emphasized the need to preserve the European unity in the face of Russian disinformation and to remain strong amid what he described as a “political storm” in the United States.

Asked if he was worried that support for Ukraine could falter in the U.S. Congress, the Ukrainian president stressed that his visit to Washington last month made him confident of strong backing by both the Biden administration and Congress.

Zelenskyy called for “additional air defense system for Ukraine, additional artillery and shells, additional long-range missiles and drones for our soldiers, as well as additional formats of support and security guarantees for nations threatened by Russia” to help protect Europe from potential aggression by Moscow.

In other Russian attacks on Ukraine in the past day, two civilians were killed in shelling of the southern city of Kherson and another one died after a Russian strike on the city of Krasnohorivka in the eastern Donetsk region. At least eight people were wounded by Russian shelling, according to Ukraine’s presidential office.

A Russian strike on a hospital in the city of Beryslav in the Kherson region ravaged the building and wounded two medical workers, according to the regional administration chief, Oleksandr Prokudin.

Ukraine, in turn, has struck back at Russia with regular drone attacks across the border.

Roman Starovoit, the governor of Russia’s Kursk region that borders Ukraine, said that Ukrainian drones attacked infrastructure facilities in several areas, resulting in power cuts.

Starovoit also said that Ukrainian forces fired artillery at the border town of Rylsk, wounding a local resident and damaging several houses.

Yuras Karmanau in Tallinn, Estonia, contributed to this report.

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