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Rescuers work at the site of a building destroyed during a Russian airstrike in Chernihiv, Ukraine, on Wednesday (OSV News/Valentyn Ogirenko, Reuters)

The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church has responded to a “devastating” strike by Russia on civilians in a northern Ukrainian city. Source: NCR Online.

At least 17 people were killed and 61 wounded when three Russian missiles slammed into the centre of Chernihiv, located about 150kms from Kyiv, on Wednesday.

The buildings struck in the attack included an eight-floor apartment building, a hospital and an education facility — targets banned by international humanitarian law, which specifies that attacks may not be directed against civilian objects.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the casualties point to his nation’s dire need for Western military aid, a major portion of which has been stalled in the US Congress due to political gridlock, partisan infighting and openly anti-Ukrainian sentiment.

In a brief statement posted to Facebook on Wednesday, Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk said the losses at Chernihiv were “tragic.”

“In this challenging time, we pray for the souls of those killed and extend our heartfelt condolences to their families,” he wrote. “We also ask the all-merciful Lord for the healing of the injured!”

Later the same day, Major Archbishop Shevchuk addressed participants at the International Ecumenical Conference in Lviv, the theme of which was “Overcoming together the horrors of war: The experience of post-Yugoslav states and Ukraine.” The gathering was organised by the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church’s Commission for Interfaith and Interreligious Relations and the Institute for Ecumenical Studies at Ukrainian Catholic University.

Speaking by video link from Kyiv, the archbishop said that “war is always a tragedy and a crime, especially when someone conducts it under the guise of God. Then this war turns into blasphemy.”

Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, has openly blessed and encouraged Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, saying in a September 2022 sermon that those who die fighting with the Russian military will see their sins washed away.


Ukrainian Catholic bishop calls Russian strike against civilians ‘devastating’ (By Gina Christian, NCR Online)