Artillery strike on the Svyatogorsk Lavra: the President of Ukraine is waiting for the reaction of UNESCO and the UN

On Saturday, June 4, the All Saints Skete, consecrated back in 1912, was destroyed. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church confirmed the information:

“As a result of hostilities, a large-scale fire broke out on the territory of the All Saints Skete of the Holy Assumption Svyatogorsk Lavra. The flame completely engulfed the main church of the monastery.”

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky calls on the UN and UNESCO to expel the Russian Federation from their ranks as a terrorist state that destroys historical monuments and social infrastructure.

For the first time, the largest wooden temple in Ukraine was destroyed during the Soviet era. Later it was rebuilt, and now it was burned by the Russian army. A few days ago, on June 1, Russian shells exploded in the cells of the Lavra monks. Four were killed and four more were seriously injured. Recall that Svyatogorsk has been under fire since May. Russian troops launched an offensive against Svyatogorsk almost a week ago, shelling the city and the Lavra. Zelensky said, quotes “UP”:

“The invaders know exactly what object they are shelling. They know that there are no military targets on the territory of the Svyatogorsk Lavra. They know that about 300 laymen, including 60 children, are hiding there from hostilities. But still, the Russian army is shelling the Lavra, like the rest of Donbass, like any other territory and any other object of Ukraine that it can reach, it does not care what exactly to turn into ruins. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine appealed to UNESCO with a demand to deprive Russia of membership in the organization. Ukrainian diplomacy is working on this. Not a single state Russia, except for Russia, has not destroyed so many monuments, cultural and social objects in Europe since the Second World War. We expect a logical and fair response from the UN and UNESCO. This is the United Nations and its charter does not provide for association with terrorists. The isolation of Russia should be full, she must answer for her crimes.”

A little later, Russian media reported that “Ukrainian militants set fire to the wooden skete of the Svyatogorsk Lavra,” referring to the Russian Defense Ministry. RIA News writes that the Ukrainian military, retreating from Svyatogorsk (DPR), set fire to a wooden skete in the Holy Dormition Lavra with a burst of machine gun fire:

“During the retreat <...> units of the 79th Airborne Assault Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Ukrainian nationalists set fire to the wooden monastery of All Saints of the Land of the Russian Holy Dormition Svyatogorsk Lavra.”

At the same time, the Ministry of Defense emphasized that the Russian units, which are located north of Svyatogorsk, do not conduct military operations in this area and do not fire at the territory of the historical and architectural reserve. The information and educational department of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church reported earlier that the All Saints Skete was burning in the Svyatogorsk Lavra. Information about the dead and injured is not yet available.

During his video address, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky declaredthat since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, 113 churches have been damaged or destroyed, including those that survived World War II:

“The All Saints Skete of the Svyatogorsk Lavra began to be restored in 2001. Just June 10 would have been another anniversary of the start of construction. Russian propagandists are predictable and accuse Ukrainians of arson, although the monks clearly saw that it was precisely Russian artillery. All this should encourage the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to stronger conclusions and a clearer condemnation of each of those who indulge aggression.”

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