Ukrainian Leaders had claimed that a church had been bombed in a horrifying Easter attack on Sunday, pointing fingers squarely at Russia.
In a report by Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense, Russian armed forces opened fire on nine provinces including a church, killing four civilians and injuring up to 16. According to UKrInform, Russian forces fired S-300 missiles at communities in the Zaporizhzhia region, completely destroying a local historic church dated back to 1906 in Komyshuvakha village.
Images from the scene show that the roof of the church has collapsed, with debris strewn across the surrounding area. It’s unclear exactly what caused the explosion, but Ukrainian officials are suggesting that it was a bomb planted by Russian agents. They say that there is a pattern of such attacks, and that this latest incident is just the latest in a long line of provocations by Russia.
“One of them hit the church. It is the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of St. Michael the Archangel, our central church in the village of Komyshuvakha,” the head of the community, Yuri Karapetian, said. “Thanks to God and the common sense of our clergy, at that time there were no service and no Easter food blessing in the church, because it is usually very crowded here.”
“We were planning to hold the service and bless Easter food at 05:00 in the morning. Around 02:30, we heard an explosion. All services have been postponed, and we are dismantling the rubble,” senior priest Volodymyr said.
A Twitter post by the official page of the Ukraine government read: “Not a single hour of this week before Orthodox Easter passed without murders and terror. This is an evil state, and it will lose. To win is our duty to humanity as such. And we will win! The longer-range Ukrainian strikes are, the sooner Russian atrocities will end.” The page also posted the official Easter greeting of the President of Ukraine.
Not a single hour of this week before Orthodox Easter passed without 🇷🇺 murders and terror. This is an evil state, and it will lose. To win is our duty to humanity as such. And we will win! The longer-range Ukrainian strikes are, the sooner Russian atrocities will end. pic.twitter.com/cFuewV3KFz
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) April 14, 2023
Lord's Resurrection means victory of life. We celebrate Easter with faith in irreversibility of this victory. Heaven sees our faith & firmness. The world sees valor & invincibility. The enemy sees our strength & determination. 🇺🇦 will see the light of victory. Christ is Risen! pic.twitter.com/FFOOfz4hqn
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) April 16, 2023
The incident is likely to increase tensions between Ukraine and Russia, which have been at odds since February 2022. Since then, Ukraine has been in a state of conflict with Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country. Despite a ceasefire being in place, sporadic violence continues to occur, and both sides frequently accuse each other of violations.
For the people of Komyshuvakha, and for the wider Orthodox community in Ukraine, this Easter weekend will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.