News World From the world’s largest plane to the Mariupol theater: six icons of...

From the world’s largest plane to the Mariupol theater: six icons of the destruction caused by the war

In twelve months, the war in Ukraine has caused the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives. Also enormous damage to their cultural heritage. More than 240 locations have received damage. Among them, 105 religious buildings, 18 museums, 86 buildings of historical or artistic interest, 19 monuments and 12 bookstores.

Most of them, in Donetsk, Kharkiv, Lugansk and Kiev, according to Unesco, which does not include the damage to other heritage, equally emblematic, such as the destroyed Antonov AN-225, the largest aircraft in the world.

1

Svyatogorsk

Sanctuary of the Holy Dormition

Before image - Svyato-Heorhiyivs Monastery in Sviatogorsk, before and after Russian shelling

Svyato-Heorhiyivs Monastery in Sviatogorsk, before and after Russian shelling

Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP

One of the main jewels of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church will not arrive unscathed at the end of the war. In Sviatogorsk, next to the strategic Liman, the imposing monastic complex of the Holy Dormition suffers significant damage, having been the target of at least four bombardments.

A place of refuge at the beginning of the conflict – it has come to shelter more than 500 people – the sanctuary was attacked between March and June 2022. The most serious attack took place at the end of May, when four religious died. The monastery of Saint George. The wooden church of Todos los Santos, which belongs to the complex, has also been the victim of the bombardments.

“The occupiers know exactly what they are bombing. They don’t care what to turn into ruins,” denounced the Ukrainian president, Vladimir Zelenski, who posted a video with the damage on Telegram. “No other state, except Russia, destroyed so many monumentscultural and social goods in Europe during the whole period after the Second World War”.

Built on a network of caves where the first monks settled in the 13th century, the Sanctuary of the Holy Dormition is crowned by the Church of Nicholas, whose altar is directly excavated in the rock. The complex, on the banks of the Donets River, in the heart of the Sacred Mountains Nature Park, was partly destroyed during the Soviet era. Some of its dependencies were converted into a cinema, a nightclub and a shelter for workers who emigrated to Donbas.

The religious one is one of the many battles that Ukraine and Russia have been waging since before the war. In 2019 the kyiv church split from the Moscow Patriarchate, a decision that many experts compared in relevance to the schism of the West.

2

homemel

Antonov AN-225 Mriya

Image after - Antonov An-225 Mriya taking off from Hostomel in 2018 and destroyed in its hangar, last May
Before image - Antonov An-225 Mriya taking off from Hostomel in 2018 and destroyed in its hangar, last May

Antonov An-225 Mriya taking off from Hostomel in 2018 and destroyed in its hangar, last May

EPA/STEPAN FRANKO and Reuters

The destruction of the world’s largest aircraft in the early stages of the war dealt a serious blow to the morale of the Ukrainians. Virtually a national icon of Ukraine, “The Dream” was a gigantic six-engine freighter capable of carrying the failed Soviet Buran space shuttle.

Last emblem of the communist aerospace industry, only one unit was manufactured before its economy finished collapsing. Each flight cost, on average, close to a million dollars, but it allowed the cargo equivalent of 200 tractors to be carried in a single trip of a few hours, which made it highly sought after when responding quickly to a catastrophe. natural.

His last moment of glory was in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. In April 2020, he brought more than one hundred tons of reactive drug ingredients and protective equipment from China to Poland, with a volume of 1,000 cubic meters. «Never has a load of such a volume been transported in an aircraft in all history», then boasted its owner, the Antonov company.

From the very moment of its loss, Ukraine has shown interest in its reconstruction, the cost of which is estimated at more than 500 million dollars. The project is already underway, as confirmed by the general director of Antonov, Eugene Gavrylov, who intends to take advantage of the structure of a second aircraft that was never completed and undamaged parts of the plane to reduce the bill.

3

Kharkiv

regional administration

Image after - The Kharkiv Regional Administration, before the Russian invasion and last week, destroyed and with the windows boarded up after the bombing last March
Image before - The Kharkiv Regional Administration, before the Russian invasion and last week, destroyed and with the windows boarded up after the bombing last March

The Kharkov Regional Administration, before the Russian invasion and last week, destroyed and with the windows boarded up after the bombing last March

SERGEY BOBOK / AFP

March 1, 8 in the morning. The anti-aircraft alarms begin to sound in Kharkov, the second city of Ukraine, one of the main objectives of Putin’s troops during the war. Two kalibr missiles hit the Regional Administration building, completely destroying it and killing 29 people.

Everything suggested that the capture of Kharkov by the Russians would be very fast. Barely 30 kilometers from the border, and with a population -1.4 million inhabitants before the war- mostly Russian-speaking, it was designated as a priority objective by the Kremlin. Only the strong resistance of the Ukrainian Army saved it from following in the footsteps of Kherson, captured by the Russians and later recaptured by kyiv last November.

More than 2,000 Kharkiv buildings have been damaged or destroyed

On February 27, two companies of the Russian special forces, the Spetsnaz, entered the city. The fall seemed imminent. However, by May 13, the Ukrainian counteroffensive had cleared the area of ​​attackers. The bombings, however, continued in the following weeks, and Amnesty International denounced the use of cluster bombsprohibited by the Dublin Convention.

Traces are still visible in its shattered streets: according to its mayor, Ihor Terekohov, more than 2,000 buildings have been damaged or destroyed. Some neighbourhoods, such as Saltivka, on the northern fringe of the city, have been completely devastated. “The bombing and the exchange of artillery was so intense that we could not get to the surface,” Alice, the war nickname of one of the city’s defenders, told Alvaro Ybarra Zabala. We threw walls to connect some buildings with others and thus be able to move with a minimum of security»

4

Mariupol

drama theater

Picture after - Mariupol Drama Theater
Image before - Mariupol Drama Theater

Mariupol Drama Theater

Reuters / Alexander Ermochenko

Almost a year has passed since the painful bombing of the Mariupol Drama Theater and the number of fatalities is still not known with certainty. Although at first the local authorities raised the number to 300, the AP agency increased it to 600 after its own investigation.

It may never be known: with the excuse of rebuilding the building, the new Russian authorities in the city demolished it –except the facade to rebuild it, respecting the facade. A movement that seeks to hide the traces of the tragedy, according to the cabinet of the Ukrainian mayor in exile, who made the demolition public thanks to the leaking of the works, covered by a canvas to avoid prying eyes.

An extensive investigation by Amnesty International could only confirm a dozen deaths, although it notes that “many more were likely to die.” The organization considers it proven that the Russian Army committed “a war crime”, after interviewing 53 direct witnesses of the attack.

Aerial view of the Mariupol Drama Theater

Reuters

“Although they knew that hundreds of civilians were taking refuge there, which makes the attack a clear war crime (…) almost certainly, the attack was carried out by Russian combat aircraft that dropped two 500-kilo bombs that They fell close to each other and detonated simultaneously.”

Between February and May of last year, when the fighting caused an “apocalyptic” degree of destruction in the city, in the words of the Red Cross, the theater became a huge refuge. With more than 90% of the buildings in Mariupol damaged or destroyed, hundreds of people took shelter behind its thick walls, and wrote the word “children” in Russianon the esplanades in front and behind the building, clearly visible to the Russian pilots and also on satellite images.

5

Mariupol

Azovstal Steelworks

Image after - Mariupol Azovstal steelworks, before and after the Russian siege
Before image - Mariupol Azovstal steelworks, before and after the Russian siege

Mariupol Azovstal steelworks, before and after the Russian siege

Reuters

If the siege of Mariupol has been compared to 21st century Stalingrad, the assault on its Azovstal steelworks might well be compared to the Nazi assault on the Dzerzhinsky tractor factory during World War II.)

In the steel mill, thousands of Ukrainian fighters resisted the Russian advance tooth and nail for almost three months. The Ukrainians, framed in their vast majority within the controversial Azov Battalionthey had taken advantage of the refuge offered by the huge industrial complex on the outskirts of Mariupol, crossed by numerous tunnels, to organize a Numantine resistance to the Russian advance.

When the complex fell, on May 20, it was barely a tangle of ruins. Inside, the Russians captured 1,908 “nationalists” and 177 civilians, according to the Defense Minister, Sergey Shoigu, to Putin. At least another 500 civilians who took refuge inside from the Russian assault had previously been evacuated.

6

kyiv

Retroville Mall

Image after - kyiv Retroville shopping center
Before Image - kyiv Retroville Shopping Center

kyiv Retroville shopping center

Mapcarta.com/Reuters

kyiv’s brand new Retroville shopping mall, opened just two years before the war, was one of the first targets of Russian army bombing. Managed by the Lithuanian company BT Invest, it housed more than 250 stores in its 86,000 square meters, approximately half the size of the Parquesur shopping center in Leganes (Madrid).

On the night of March 20, the emergency services received notice that a fire had broken out inside. When the firefighters arrived, most of it had been devastated, and eight corpses They appeared lying on the asphalt of the parking lot.

The next day, very little was left of the ultra-modern building: according to the Russian Defense Ministry, the center had been converted into an ammunition warehouse and housed, among other things, several multiple launch rocket systems. BM-21 Grad. Following the assault, Ukraine detained a man accused of recording movements of military vehicles in the downtown parking lot and later uploading them to TikTok.

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