Russian army attacked 270 religious sites in Ukraine during first months of invasion

Wednesday, November 16, 2022 | Tag Cloud Tags: , , ,

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – A new report by the Ukrainian-based Institute for Religious Freedom (IRF) shows that the Russian army destroyed or damaged 270 houses of worship, religious, educational institutions, and sacred sites in Ukraine in the first five months of the invasion launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin in February, Church Leaders (CL) reports.

The IRF also reported that atrocities committed by Russian forces against Ukrainian religious leaders have intensified.

In its report, the IRF reviews Russia’s violations of religious freedom in Ukraine from its occupation of Crimea in 2014 to the middle of its invasion and occupation of parts of Ukraine on July 15 this year, CL said.

According to the report, Russian attacks on Ukrainian Christians and religious sites became “crueler” from the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24 this year.

“If previously Russian occupational authorities expelled Ukrainian believers from their churches and prayer houses, now Russia is destroying the spiritual heritage of Ukraine with missile attacks, shelling, and looting of religious buildings without justification by military necessity,” the report added.

The IRF said that among the 270 religious sites that were attacked, 108 belonged to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), CL said. There were 43 Baptist buildings targeted, and 42 Pentecostal facilities were attacked. Most of the attacks were in eastern Ukraine and the north-central region of the capital city Kyiv.

Notably, the IRF specified that attacks on religious leaders were becoming more deadly. “If previously priests [in] the occupied territories only received death threats, now religious leaders are tortured and killed – again, but on a scale far worse than in 2014,” the report said.

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