‘This is barbarism’: Shock at Russian strike on Odesa cathedral

‘This is barbarism’: Shock at Russian strike on Odesa cathedral

The Guardian reports:

‘Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy.” The priest dabbed tears from his eyes as his sonorous voice emerged from loudspeakers hastily assembled outside his devastated cathedral, the incantation competing with the crash of debris being loaded into trucks and the drilling of repair works on neighbouring buildings.

This was the second time that the vast, sand-yellow Transfiguration Cathedral, which sits in the heart of Odesa’s Unesco-listed historic centre, had been attacked: in the 1930s, it was torn down during Joseph Stalin’s atheism drive. On Sunday morning, the rebuilt version was hit during a Russian airstrike on the city. A missile blew a large hole in the roof, collapsed the altar and left several walls charred by fire.

It was one of several strikes on the southern port city in the early hours. Schools, residential buildings and a revered 19th-century mansion also suffered damage. One person was killed and 14 were hospitalised, the regional governor said.

Russia has been hitting Odesa relentlessly since Moscow last week pulled out of a deal allowing Ukrainian grain to be exported from the city’s Black Sea ports. The Russian defence ministry has also threatened to treat commercial ships attempting to dock in Odesa as military targets in order to ensure that no grain can leave the city.

“Russia’s current strategy is to destroy Odesa. They would never really attack foreign-flagged ships coming to Odesa, so they are attacking Odesa to make it clear that it’s too dangerous here,” said Oleksiy Honcharenko, a Ukrainian MP from the city. He said Ukraine urgently needed more air defence systems. [Continue reading…]

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