Russian missiles have inflicted severe damage on numerous architectural landmarks in Ukraine, with a historic Orthodox cathedral in Odesa among the casualties. This has sparked outrage and prompted President Volodymyr Zelensky to promise retaliation. The recent wave of attacks on Odesa has claimed at least one life and injured several others. According to regional military officials, 25 architectural monuments have been destroyed, including the city’s historic center, which is protected by UNESCO.
Ukrainian officials have accused the Russians of intentionally targeting Odesa’s historic city center, calling them “cynical inhumans.” Not only has the Transfiguration Cathedral, the largest church building in Odesa, been devastated, but other cultural sites such as the House of Scientists and Zhvanetskyi Boulevard have also suffered damage. The cathedral, which was consecrated in 1809, was destroyed during the Soviet era and later rebuilt. It occupies a central location within Odesa’s city center, a World Heritage Site designated by UNESCO to safeguard it from the threat of Russian invasion.
The destruction caused by the missile strikes is a devastating blow to Odesa, a significant cultural hub with deep historical ties to Russia. Founded under Catherine the Great, it was once Russia’s second most important port. Videos have emerged showing the wreckage inside the cathedral, with debris strewn everywhere. Despite the damage, officials have managed to retrieve the icon of the city’s patroness from beneath the rubble. The Minister of Culture, Oleksandr Tkachenko, has called for Russia’s expulsion from UNESCO, accusing Moscow of jeopardizing both innocent lives and World Heritage properties.
Condemnation and Retaliation
World leaders have expressed their condemnation of the attacks, with Moldovan President Maia Sandu describing the scenes of destruction as “heart-wrenching.” She strongly condemned Russia’s continued assaults on peaceful cities, residential areas, and preserved historic centers. Ukrainian President Zelensky vowed retaliation against the Russian terrorists, stating that “this evil will lose.” The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, also criticized Russia for its attempts to undermine Ukraine by damaging cultural sites.
Ukraine has been facing difficulties in combating the wave of Russian strikes on Odesa, as its air defenses are unable to fully counter the sophisticated missiles used by Moscow. The situation has only worsened in recent days, with reports of additional deaths in the Kharkiv region due to overnight strikes. The enemy has targeted multiple settlements with artillery, mortars, and aircraft. Despite this, Ukrainian officials remain steadfast, affirming that their defenders hold their positions against the enemy’s advances.
As the region continues to suffer from these destructive attacks, the international community stands united in support of Ukraine and its efforts to restore peace. The Russian evil will ultimately be defeated, ensuring a brighter future for Odesa and its cultural heritage.