“Russian army harasses and destroys churches”


Eastern Europe


A damaged church dome is pictured in the city of Lysychansk. Photo AFP, Olga Maltseva

According to Kyiv, the Russian army damaged and destroyed at least 183 religious buildings during the war.

In total, 173 of these buildings are Christian. Most of them belong to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Most of the religious sites affected are said to be in the Donetsk (45), Luhansk (40), Kyiv (34) and Kharkiv (25) regions. Only in ten of the 24 Ukrainian administrative districts have all sacred buildings been spared from the war. This reports the German Catholic news website Katholisch.de.

Three buildings belonging to the Roman Catholic Church are also on the list. Already on March 1st, a projectile hit the bishop’s house in Kharkiv in the northeast of the country. In the diocese of Kyiv-Zhytomyr, a blast from an explosion shattered the windows of the seminary. Russian soldiers are said to have looted the building and also stolen liturgical objects.

As CNE reported earlier, on March 15th, a Russian tank is said to have fired on the Greek Catholic Caritas building in the eastern Ukrainian port of Mariupol. Two aid workers and five people who sought shelter in the house were killed.


Buildings are not only being destroyed. The Christian Polish news website Chrześcijanin reports that Russians harassed at least four evangelical churches in mid-June. Two of them are in Mariupol, the other two in Manhusz and Wasiliewka.

According to Dr Hyun Sook Foley of VOM Korea, these churches “have recently been visited by officials or soldiers who searched them, confiscated equipment, demanded documents, and in one case they had forced church members out of the building.” There were also demands to show the registration documents.

In the village of Manhush, the Russian army expelled the believers from their house of prayer. In Wasiliewka, the soldiers entered the church, wrote down the names of all those present, and then demanded that the building be closed.


Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24th and is now occupying areas in the east and south of the neighbouring country. According to the United Nations, more than 5,000 civilians have been killed in the war since then.



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