Ukraine describes the new Russian bombing of the center of Odessa as a war crime

Russia has The city of Odessa was attacked on the night of Saturday to Sunday with about twenty missiles which caused at least two deaths and 22 injuries, four of them minors. The bombing, which the Ukrainian government described as a “barbaric war crime”, also caused great damage to the heritage. This was the fifth day of attacks in this area this week. Among the targets that were achieved last morning were the city’s Orthodox cathedral, the Church of the Transfiguration, in addition to dozens of buildings in the historic center that, Since last February, it is part of the UNESCO Special Protection PlacesAs confirmed by city council sources to this newspaper. Military authorities reported that their anti-aircraft defenses managed to intercept nine out of a total of 19 projectiles of various types fired by the Russian army.

Russia will “feel the response,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a message on the Telegram social network, and condemned the firing of “missiles at peaceful cities and against residential buildings and a cathedral… There can be no excuse for Russian evil. As always, this evil will lose. And there will certainly be retaliation from Russian terrorists [atacar] Odessa”.

The Ukrainian Ministry of Interior, after reporting the number of victims of the attack, called the attack “a war crime that will never be forgotten and never forgiven”. He also lamented the destruction of the cathedral. The temple, whose original structure dates back to 1794, was destroyed by the Soviet authorities in 1936 under Joseph Stalin. Subsequent reconstruction, already after Ukraine gained independence in 1991, was not completed until 2003. The cathedral belongs to the Russian Patriarchate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Ukraine’s head of diplomacy, Dmytro Kuleba, also denounced on Twitter “Russian missile strikes are killing people and destroying famous sites in Odessa, which are protected by UNESCO,” and urged “all countries and organizations to condemn this barbaric war crime.”

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The Russian bombing deserved the same description by the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell. Borrell said on his Twitter account: “The continued Russian terrorism with missiles on Odessa, which is protected by UNESCO, constitutes another war crime by the Kremlin, and it also demolishes the Orthodox Cathedral, which is a world heritage site.” The head of European diplomacy noted that Russia has already damaged hundreds of cultural sites “in an attempt to destroy Ukraine.”

The head of the regional military administration, Oleg Kipper, confirmed that 25 architectural landmarks were damaged,” according to a preliminary estimate.

For its part, the Russian Ministry of Defense denied that it had attacked the cathedral and confirmed in a statement that the damage was caused by the fall of the Orthodox temple “by an anti-aircraft guided missile from the Ukrainian armed forces due to the illiterate actions of its air defense officers who were always [los] It was deliberately placed in the middle of residential areas.”

Last Friday, UNESCO already condemned the attacks by Russia on Odessa, as well as the damage to heritage caused by bombings in recent days on other cities, such as Lviv and Mykolaiv. July 21 statement It said that just two weeks after the destruction of a historic building in Lviv, “this attack is the second to date on an area protected under the World Heritage Convention, in violation of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.” The text also refers to the destruction of the cultural center of folk art and art education in Mykolaiv.

In the early hours of Sunday morning in Odessa, videos taped to temple ships of destruction and flames soon began to spread as staff tried to salvage icons and other pieces. The arrival of dawn best showed the damage to the building’s structure, roofs, and interior. As well as in the streets of the center, where some buildings were hit by rockets, while the citizens tried to comb the rubble in an attempt to restore normal life as soon as possible. Ivan Leptoga, head of the Department of Culture and Tourism of the Odessa City Council, confirmed to the newspaper that at least dozens of buildings, in addition to the cathedral, were damaged in the bombing.

Catriona Loughran, an employee of the Norwegian Refugee Institute (NRC), an organization that works in dozens of countries in crisis, acknowledges that the night was difficult in Odessa. But it also tells how, even during the time they had to remain in underground shelters to protect themselves from attack, the inhabitants continued to show “great resilience.” For example, a video that she recorded herself shows a group of people playing guitar and singing underground in the middle of the night.

According to the statistics of the armed forces, Russia attacked with five Oniks cruise missiles launched from Ukraine’s Crimea, which Kremlin forces have illegally controlled and occupied since 2014; Three Kh-22 cruise missiles launched from a Tu-22M3 flying over the Black Sea; four Caliber cruise missiles launched from the same sea, possibly from a submarine; Five Iskander-K cruise missiles were launched from Crimea, and two Iskander-M ballistic missiles were launched from Crimea. The missiles that were intercepted, according to the same sources, are four Kalibr and five Iskander-K.

The Kremlin forces had already attacked Odessa for four days This week, when the barrage of rockets started hitting the city again on Sunday. Russia defends this bombing in response to attacks by Kiev forces on Crimea and its attempt to maintain grain exports through the Black Sea, despite Moscow’s opposition. he Cereal agreement sponsored by the United Nations and Turkey The one-year Safe Passage Guarantee expired on July 17. President Vladimir Putin’s government refuses to take it back unless some of the sanctions with which the international community punished him for invading Ukraine are lifted.

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