Ukraine Blames Russia, Orthodox Church Burns In Fierce War in Donbas, Ukraine

Ukraine Blames Russia, Orthodox Church Burns In Fierce War in Donbas, Ukraine
Orthodox Church Burns In Fierce War in Donbas

International Military - An Orthodox church caught fire amid heavy fighting in the Donbas between Russian and Ukrainian troops on Saturday. Kiev blamed Moscow after the house of worship fell victim to the war. "As a result of hostilities, a large-scale fire broke out in the territory of the All Saints Skete of the Holy Dormition Sviatogirsk Lavra," the Ukrainian Orthodox Church said.

"The fire completely engulfed the main monastery of the church," he said, as quoted by AFP on Sunday (5/6/2022). The fighting between Russia and Ukraine centered on the Luhansk and Donetsk regions after Moscow failed to capture the Ukrainian capital; Kiev, in the early days of the invasion.

Ukraine's Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko blamed Russian troops for the burning of the church most revered by Christians. He said about 300 Ukrainian refugees had sought refuge there, including 60 children.

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"Russia continues to prove its inability to be part of the civilized world," he said. Plumes of black smoke and fire could be seen rising from the dome of the church. Meanwhile, Russia's Defense Ministry said in a statement carried by the TASS news agency that its military did not carry out military operations in the region.

The battleground site houses one of the largest wooden churches in Ukraine. In the past month, several battles had broken out.

The facility is considered one of the three holiest sites in Ukraine for Orthodox Christians. Before the war, the site attracted thousands of pilgrims every year.

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