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Journalists, priests, moms-to-be… all killed by Russian troops
19-th day of Russian war against Ukraine. The Russian military fires and commits violence against civilians, violating all laws and customs of war. Furthermore, on March 13 the first reported death of a foreign journalist was uncovered.
Brent Renaud – acclaimed US film-maker and journalist – was killed by Russian forces in Ukraine. Together with two colleagues the documentalist was gathering material for a report about the Ukrainian refugee situation when their vehicle struck a checkpoint in Irpin, just outside the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. One of journalists traveling with Brent, Juan Arredondo, later said that they were filming civilians evacuating through one of the bridges in Irpin, when they were targeted by Russian soldiers who shot Renaud in the neck. Brent could not be saved.
The Kyiv region police chief, Andriy Nebitov, said in a statement: “The occupiers are cynically killing even journalists of international media who are trying to show the truth about the atrocities of Russian troops in Ukraine.”
Brent used to work in cooperation with his brother Craig, together they produced a series of films and television programs, mostly focusing on humanistic stories from the world’s hotspots – brothers covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the political crises in Egypt and Libya, conflicts in Africa, Mexican drug war, and the refugee crisis in Central America.
On the same day, the Russian military brutally shot well-known Ukrainian scientist Vasyl Kladko. On March 13 the corresponding Member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, laureate of national awards in the field of science went to Vorzel, a township in Kyiv region, to take his family out of danger, where he was shot, according to the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Academican Vadym Loktev.
Russian invaders killed the military chaplain, abbot Plato (Morgunov) In Volnovakha; in Berdyansk local priest Oleh Nikolaev was abducted and taken away in an unknown direction. Both of the churchmen belonged to the denomination of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. One of the pregnant women who suffered an air strike on March 10 on a maternity hospital in Mariupol died together with her unborn child today on March 14.
The Russian army does not know humanity and affects all segments of Ukrainians – eldery or children, women or men, civil or military, unborn or alive – neither of these is important for it.
The current estimated number of people affected in Ukraine is 18 million, of which 6.7 million are internally displaced. Nearly 3 million people have fled the country, according to the WHO.
What are the walls guilty of?
As a result of the bombing by russian troops dozens of cultural, educational, sacred objects in Ukraine were destroyed or damaged. Some of them belong to the historical heritage, are cultural and architectural property. Of course, the current circumstances don’t allow us to tell precisely about the level and scale of damage, destruction, losses. Stated for this moment cases tell that the Russian military does not care what targets missiles and bombs. It is a newly created government portal of the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture, where cases are collected into a single database to be passed on to the relevant bodies investigating crimes (including ICC).
Among the affected objects we can see a Сity local history museum in Okhtyrka (Sumy region), Maria Prymachenko Museum in Ivankiv (Kyiv region), The Museum of Military History and Regional library for children in Chernihiv.
There is a sad situation in Kharkiv. The State Biotechnological University (1870s), the State Scientific Library of Vladimir Korolenko, the second by book amount property fund library in Ukraine (1899-1901), Slovo Building in Kharkiv (was constructed specially for prominent Ukrainian writers in late 1920s), a City art museum (1912), a City council building (1950), a modernist mosaic from the Soviet period, the historical buildings of the 19th – early 20th century were damaged. As we know, the Russian occupiers also destroyed the memorial in Donetsk region dedicated to Vasyl Slipak, a Ukrainian opera singer, who had left behind a successful career at the Paris Opera to fight for his homeland and was killed in fighting in eastern Ukraine in 2016.
That’s not all. The facades and windows of Sviatohirsk Lavra buildings are damaged (Donetsk Oblast, the XIX – early XX centuries), an Orthodox Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos in Viazivka (Zhytomyr region, 1862) is partially destroyed, a wooden Church of St. George in Zavorychi (Kyiv region, 1878) burned down.
The Ukrainian scholars in religious studies began to gather information on sacred objects damaged or destroyed during the war.
“In Ukraine, we have always been proud of the low level of discrimination based on religion. And today, while preparing a letter to an international institution about the churches destroyed during the war, I thought about a new phenomenon for us – indiscriminate bombing of churches. Among the sixteen churches damaged from airstrikes and shelling, which I wrote to a colleague about, fourteen belonged to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (in unity with the Moscow Patriarchate). Two churches – to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Also two mosques. If the Russian army bombed only nationalist targets, the ratio would probably be different. The number of bombed buildings of the UOC-MP testifies to the indiscriminate nature of the bombings and will become evidence of war crimes in the future. And almost all the churches sent to heaven belong to Orthodoxy. This is a kind of the Triumph of Orthodoxy we have today,” – wrote Ruslan Khalikov, a religious scholar, publisher, on his Facebook.
Serhiy Zhadan – the voice of Ukraine – nominated for Nobel Prize
The Polish Academy of Sciences has nominated Ukrainian writer Serhiy Zhadan for the Nobel Prize in Literature. “Free Ukraine speaks and thinks in the words of Zhadan in many ways,” the Academy said in an official statement.
Post-Soviet reality in Ukraine is the main narrative of the author’s works. The figure of Serhiy Zhadan is an important component of social and creative processes in Ukraine, the author takes an active public position. In particular, for many years he criticized the pro-Russian government in his native Kharkiv and the country, opposed censorship, and participated in actions on the threat of censorship in Ukraine (2010-2011). He took an active part in the Euromaidan revolution in 2013-2014, suffered while protecting the building of the Kharkiv Regional State Administration from the assault of pro-Russian activists. After the Russian annexation of Crimea and the Eastern regions of Ukraine started, Serhiy launched the “Charity Foundation of Serhiy Zhadan”, which works on helping children in occupied territories and families of fallen militaries of Ukraine, including volunteers.
Since the beginning of the war in February 2022, Serhiy Zhadan has been staying in his native city Kharkiv, which is currently one of the hotspots in Ukraine suffering from artillery shelling and bombing by the Russian occupiers. Serhiy has joined the volunteer movement and is collecting ammunition for volunteer battalions in Kharkiv. In addition, almost every morning he posts photos of Kharkiv on Facebook and writes touching texts about his hometown. “He fights” as concluded in a statement.