The dead included a 6-year-old child, the Kharkiv region governor Oleh Synyehubov said, adding that six others were injured.
At the time of the attack, so many people — about 60 — were gathered in one place because they were attending a memorial service for a Ukrainian soldier who had died on the battlefield, according to Ukraine’s Interior Ministry.
The law enforcement official working in the Kharkiv region said that witnesses reported seeing a plane before the strike. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the incident publicly.
Unverified videos from the scene showed rows of burned bodies lying in grass. The entire village had been invited to the memorial service, the law enforcement official said.
Zelensky, who was attending a European Political Community summit in Granada, Spain, on Thursday, wrote in an Instagram post: “Now, we are talking with European leaders, in particular, about bolstering our air defense, reinforcing our warriors, and giving our country protection from terror.”
“There will be a retaliation against terrorists,” he added. “An absolutely fair and powerful one.”
Ukrainian officials have said that Moscow for months has been trying to gain ground toward Kupyansk, a small city just 30 miles away from Russia’s border veined with strategic roads and rail tracks, including a train line that reaches Russia’s border.
Russian forces occupied the town for six months last year before Ukraine took it back roughly one year ago. The Russian offensive in the area could also be intended to divert Ukrainian military resources from the frontline in the south and the east, where Kyiv has mounted a counteroffensive against occupying Russian troops.
Russian soldiers near Kupyansk have made modest gains, but their ultimate goal is unclear. The Kharkiv region, where the city is located, is not one of the four Ukrainian regions, in addition to Crimea, that Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared — in violation of international law — to be annexed by Russia.