Moscow (AsiaNews) - St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Slavyansk, eastern Ukraine, was hit by Ukrainian shelling on Sunday, shortly before the end of President Petro Poroshenko's unilateral ceasefire, the local diocese reported, as quoted by the Interfax agency.
The 30-minute shelling took place during Sunday liturgy. About a thousand people were in the area; many of them had come for the regular distribution of humanitarian help. No one was injured or killed.
"After the shooting began everyone rushed to the church. The cathedral was filled, people prayed to God with tears. The shelling wave broke several stained glass windows, people started praying even more ardently. The shelling lasted about half an hour. The Artyom District and the central market were also shelled," the priest said. Civilians were hit.
This is the seventh time that Slavyansk churches were shelled, Interfax reported.
On 26 May, a mine killed a woman near the Church of the Derzhavnaya Icon of the Mother of God when the Artyom District was shelled. Pieces of the mine broke windows in the church, damaged its facade and destroyed the church fence
On 8 June, the day of the Holy Trinity, the downtown Church of the Holy Spirit was heavily shelled.
Overnight on 16 June, St Seraphim Church in Cherevkovka was also shelled. The ward house and canteen were fully destroyed. The same day, St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral was hit.
On 19 June, the 18th century Church of the Resurrection was caught in the crossfire. On 21 June, the cathedral was hit again.
Slavyansk is a stronghold of pro-Russian militias. Kyiv's military operation against the breakaway region resumed officially after Poroshenko decided not to extend the ceasefire he declared on 20 June, later extended until 22.00 (local time) on 30 June. (N.A.)