Home Arts Russian attacks on Odessa damage the Orthodox cathedral

Russian attacks on Odessa damage the Orthodox cathedral

by godlove4241
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Unesco has condemned “in the strongest terms” repeated Russian attacks on the Ukrainian city of Odessa last weekend. Important cultural sites in the Black Sea port were damaged, including the city’s Transfiguration Cathedral.

The historic center of Odessa was declared an endangered world heritage site in January. Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO, said in a statement: “This outrageous destruction marks an escalation of violence against Ukraine’s cultural heritage. I strongly condemn this attack on culture and urge the Russian Federation to take meaningful steps to comply with its obligations under international law, including the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and the 1972 World Heritage Convention.”

Azoulay visited Odessa in April and Unesco said it would send a field mission to the city “to conduct a preliminary damage assessment”.

The Transfiguration Cathedral, originally completed by Italian architect Francesco Frappoli in 1808, was destroyed under dictator Joseph Stalin in 1936 and rebuilt in the 2000s. It was the most symbolic architectural casualty of recent bombings. Russian Orthodox Bishop Patriarch Kirill, a staunch supporter of Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine, consecrated the renovated cathedral in 2010. The Odessa diocese released dramatic footage of the immediate aftermath of the attack and city residents gathering to save the icons and clean up the rubble ruins.

The Russian Defense Ministry denied targeting the cathedral, saying it only targeted “military and terrorist infrastructure in the Kyiv region”, and claimed the damage was likely the result of a Ukrainian air defense missile. Russia launched retaliatory strikes after Ukrainian drones hit the Kerch Bridge in Russian-occupied Crimea on July 17.

Yuri Kruk, the head of the Ukrainian military command of the Odessa district, said in a statement that it was “the biggest blow of the enemy on the historic center of the city of Odessa since the beginning of the war”. The 19th-century Tolstoy Palace Scientists’ House was among other badly damaged buildings.

Oleh Kiper, the Ukrainian military governor of Odessa, reported on his Telegram channel that 25 architectural monuments were damaged by the latest Russian attack.

Earlier this month, a Russian missile strike in western Ukraine left 10 dead and destroyed a historic building in Lviv. The city is also a Unesco World Heritage Site. Other strikes in Odessa in recent days have damaged the city’s Archaeological Museum, Maritime Museum and Literature Museum.

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