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Ukrainian brothers are behind the Russian attack – they divide the village

Two brothers are suspected of providing Russia with information that led to an entire Ukrainian village being torn apart.

Among those who left after a bloody attack, distrust and paranoia spread.

Valentina Cozier's living room became an altar.

– The whole family died. There was no one left, just me and my only grandson.

On October 5 of last year, her life was shattered by a Russian robot. The attack on little Hroza left not a single one of the roughly 300 residents unscathed.

Kozir's nephew, a fallen soldier, had just been buried when the robot struck the cafe where mourners were gathering for a memorial service. 59 people were killed, all civilians, according to a United Nations investigation. All that remained were piles of rubble and body parts.

Time and coordinates

Valentina Kozyr lost her husband, two children, and her eight-year-old grandson. Now she only visits the village when she has to collect something from home. The memories are very heavy. From tables and display cabinets, rows of deceased family members peer into a living room where dust collects on the red velvet carpet.

Six months after the attack, Hruza was marked by sadness, but also distrust and widespread rumours. The Ukrainian security service concluded that two members of the village – one of them killers – had provided Moscow with the exact time and coordinates of the attack.

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– They were our neighbors. My eldest son went to school with one of them, and they were practically inseparable, says Volodymyr Moshovatej.

Changing loyalties

He sits on a bench outside his house, staring at the sky. Birds chirp in the spring, but otherwise the once-bustling village remains quiet. Mochovati is now alone: ​​his wife, son and daughter-in-law were killed during the memorial service.

– How many people have you sent to the grave? Why? You fucking idiots!

Russian forces captured Hruza in the first days of the overall invasion. In September 2022, Ukraine retook the village, but according to villagers, many residents subsequently switched sides.

Hearing the wife's call

The two brothers accused of attacking the café had left the city of Harouza for Russia before the attack. But in the village there are whispers, directives and rumours: there are pro-Russians everywhere, people who would betray themselves in a heartbeat if the Russians returned.

– They have a Ukrainian flag in their house, but if something goes wrong, they will tear it down and burn it at the stake, Valentina Kozir says of the villagers who are said to be on the side of the Russians.

Volodymyr Moshovatej cannot understand that Tanya, his wife of nearly 50 years, is gone.

– At night I hear her calling me: “Vova, Vova.”

-I wake up and start running around the house thinking she's back. But no, it's not there.