War in Ukraine | Desolate scene of a war church

(Lukashivka) Only a metal cross remains in the church of broken brick and blackened stone. Russian soldiers used the shrine to store ammunition, local residents said, and Ukrainian troops shelled the building to drive the Russians away.

Posted at 12:11 p.m

cara anna
Associated Press

Here in this small village in northern Ukraine there is no Christian Orthodox Easter mass on Sunday.

One of the church’s golden domes was demolished. His golden cross leans against an outside wall.

“It’s very unfortunate,” said 70-year-old resident Valentina Ivanivna, who stood by her bike as men dismantled abandoned Russian military vehicles nearby on Orthodox Good Friday.

Photo Petros Giannakouris, Associated Press

Valentina Ivanivna

The church in Lukashivka, a village near the city of Chernihiv, survived World War II and the harshest years of the Soviet Union, when authorities stole its religious icons, residents said.

This time, citizens believe it will take years for the church to regain its former beauty.

Its bells fell on unstable ground littered with ammunition casings and tins of Russian meat. A candlestick remains intact, along with a dented teapot and a colander.

Photo Petros Giannakouris, Associated Press

A candlestick withstood the bombings.

Outside, the ribbed part of a rocket is stuck in the mud.

The villagers promised to rebuild at all costs. They have already started building their own homes while waiting for basic services to resume.

There is no gas to bake Easter bread. Around the corner, military chaplain Volodymyr Vyshtyvkin and volunteers were distributing food and Bible verses.

“Remember that Jesus rose from the dead,” the chaplain told them. Ukraine will do the same. »

He also called on villagers to pray for those on the frontlines in places like Mariupol, a southern city the Russians are desperate to take and which continued to be bombed on Friday.

The resistance never died during the local occupation of Lukashivka, said 64-year-old Valentyna Golyak.

Photo Petros Giannakouris, Associated Press

“You will remain on this land as fertilizer,” she told the Russian soldiers, believing that these men did not believe in God.

Mme Golyak claims she also told Russian soldiers that she had lived her whole life without war and expected to die the same way.

“Instead, the soldiers damaged or destroyed almost every house in the village. And the church, which was so beautiful,” she said.

However, the famous has been celebrating a new life since her daughter was born in a village basement during the Russian occupation. The little girl, whose name is Victoria, turned 1 month old on Saturday.

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