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Historic Ukrainian cathedral badly damaged by Russian strikes

Russian rockets have badly damaged a historic Orthodox cathedral in the port city of Odessa in southern Ukraine, sparking outrage and prompting President Zelenskiy to vow revenge.

Ukrainian officials said the strikes killed at least one person and injured several others in the latest in a series of attacks on Odessa. The shelling also destroyed other historic buildings, the Ukrainian Culture Ministry said.

The Transfiguration Cathedral is the largest church building in Odessa. It was consecrated in 1809, destroyed in Soviet times in 1936, and then rebuilt when Ukraine became an independent state.

The cathedral is located in the center of Odessa, which UNESCO has included in the list of world heritage sites in connection with the threat of Russian invasion.

The video showed the interior of the cathedral strewn with rubble. The Ukrainian authorities said that the icon of the patroness of the city was removed from the rubble.

Odessa is a key cultural center and has long-standing ties with Russia. It was founded under Catherine the Great and was once the second most important port in Russia.

The operational command of Ukraine reported on Telegram that dozens of cars were damaged as a result of the strikes, the facades and roofs of many buildings in the city were damaged, and windows were shattered.

“Several sinkholes have formed in the city. There are power outages, which can make traffic difficult, and the public transport route may be changed.”

Ukrainian journalist Yulia Gorodetskaya, who suffered from nighttime attacks, wrote on her Facebook account that her house was “shaking and bouncing”.

“It’s loud. Powerful. I jumped up like a mountain goat and ran into the corridor. Nothing hurts anymore, no depression. I desperately want to live,” she said, describing the moment the explosions took place.

The Russian Defense Ministry denied the information about the attack on the cathedral and stated that it had attacked the places where “terrorist acts” were being prepared. “All targets scheduled for attack have been destroyed,” the message says.

Last week,  Ukraine struggled to repel a wave of Russian strikes on Odessa, its air defenses unable to cope with the types of missiles Moscow has used to bombard the region.

In a statement on Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned Moscow’s latest attack.

“Rockets on peaceful cities, on residential buildings, on the cathedral… There can be no justification for Russian evil,” Zelensky said. “As always, this evil will lose, and for Odessa there will definitely be retribution against Russian terrorists. They will feel the retribution,” he said.

“I am grateful to everyone who helps people, and to everyone who is mentally and emotionally with Odessa. We’ll get through this. We will restore peace. And for this we must defeat the Russian evil.

EU High Representative for Foreign Policy Josep Borrell tweeted that “Russia has already damaged hundreds of cultural sites in an attempt to destroy Ukraine.”

Elsewhere, local military commanders reported at least two deaths in overnight Russian attacks in Kharkiv region, including a 57-year-old woman and a 45-year-old man killed in Dvorichny district by artillery fire.

“Over the past 24 hours, the enemy has been conducting a massive shelling from artillery, mortars and aviation of the settlements of Kharkov, Chuguevsky, Kupyansky and Izyumsky districts,” Oleg Sinegubov, head of the Kharkov regional military administration, said on Telegram.

As a result of the shelling of Kupyansk from grenade launchers, cannon artillery and mortars, civil industry buildings were also damaged, including at least three houses and outbuildings.

“Our defenders are holding positions in the Kupyansk direction. The enemy did not advance,” said Sinegubov.

Source: CNN