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Journalists, priests, moms-to-be… all killed by Russian troops
19-th day of Russian war against Ukraine. The Russian military fires and commits violence against civilians, violating all laws and customs of war. Furthermore, on March 13 the first reported death of a foreign journalist was uncovered.
Brent Renaud – acclaimed US film-maker and journalist – was killed by Russian forces in Ukraine. Together with two colleagues the documentalist was gathering material for a report about the Ukrainian refugee situation when their vehicle struck a checkpoint in Irpin, just outside the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. One of journalists traveling with Brent, Juan Arredondo, later said that they were filming civilians evacuating through one of the bridges in Irpin, when they were targeted by Russian soldiers who shot Renaud in the neck. Brent could not be saved.
The Kyiv region police chief, Andriy Nebitov, said in a statement: “The occupiers are cynically killing even journalists of international media who are trying to show the truth about the atrocities of Russian troops in Ukraine.”
Brent used to work in cooperation with his brother Craig, together they produced a series of films and television programs, mostly focusing on humanistic stories from the world’s hotspots – brothers covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the political crises in Egypt and Libya, conflicts in Africa, Mexican drug war, and the refugee crisis in Central America.
On the same day, the Russian military brutally shot well-known Ukrainian scientist Vasyl Kladko. On March 13 the corresponding Member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, laureate of national awards in the field of science went to Vorzel, a township in Kyiv region, to take his family out of danger, where he was shot, according to the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Academican Vadym Loktev.
Russian invaders killed the military chaplain, abbot Plato (Morgunov) In Volnovakha; in Berdyansk local priest Oleh Nikolaev was abducted and taken away in an unknown direction. Both of the churchmen belonged to the denomination of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. One of the pregnant women who suffered an air strike on March 10 on a maternity hospital in Mariupol died together with her unborn child today on March 14.
The Russian army does not know humanity and affects all segments of Ukrainians – eldery or children, women or men, civil or military, unborn or alive – neither of these is important for it.
The current estimated number of people affected in Ukraine is 18 million, of which 6.7 million are internally displaced. Nearly 3 million people have fled the country, according to the WHO.
What are the walls guilty of?
As a result of the bombing by russian troops dozens of cultural, educational, sacred objects in Ukraine were destroyed or damaged. Some of them belong to the historical heritage, are cultural and architectural property. Of course, the current circumstances don’t allow us to tell precisely about the level and scale of damage, destruction, losses. Stated for this moment cases tell that the Russian military does not care what targets missiles and bombs. It is a newly created government portal of the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture, where cases are collected into a single database to be passed on to the relevant bodies investigating crimes (including ICC).
Among the affected objects we can see a Сity local history museum in Okhtyrka (Sumy region), Maria Prymachenko Museum in Ivankiv (Kyiv region), The Museum of Military History and Regional library for children in Chernihiv.
There is a sad situation in Kharkiv. The State Biotechnological University (1870s), the State Scientific Library of Vladimir Korolenko, the second by book amount property fund library in Ukraine (1899-1901), Slovo Building in Kharkiv (was constructed specially for prominent Ukrainian writers in late 1920s), a City art museum (1912), a City council building (1950), a modernist mosaic from the Soviet period, the historical buildings of the 19th – early 20th century were damaged. As we know, the Russian occupiers also destroyed the memorial in Donetsk region dedicated to Vasyl Slipak, a Ukrainian opera singer, who had left behind a successful career at the Paris Opera to fight for his homeland and was killed in fighting in eastern Ukraine in 2016.
That’s not all. The facades and windows of Sviatohirsk Lavra buildings are damaged (Donetsk Oblast, the XIX – early XX centuries), an Orthodox Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos in Viazivka (Zhytomyr region, 1862) is partially destroyed, a wooden Church of St. George in Zavorychi (Kyiv region, 1878) burned down.
The Ukrainian scholars in religious studies began to gather information on sacred objects damaged or destroyed during the war.
“In Ukraine, we have always been proud of the low level of discrimination based on religion. And today, while preparing a letter to an international institution about the churches destroyed during the war, I thought about a new phenomenon for us – indiscriminate bombing of churches. Among the sixteen churches damaged from airstrikes and shelling, which I wrote to a colleague about, fourteen belonged to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (in unity with the Moscow Patriarchate). Two churches – to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Also two mosques. If the Russian army bombed only nationalist targets, the ratio would probably be different. The number of bombed buildings of the UOC-MP testifies to the indiscriminate nature of the bombings and will become evidence of war crimes in the future. And almost all the churches sent to heaven belong to Orthodoxy. This is a kind of the Triumph of Orthodoxy we have today,” – wrote Ruslan Khalikov, a religious scholar, publisher, on his Facebook.
Serhiy Zhadan – the voice of Ukraine – nominated for Nobel Prize
The Polish Academy of Sciences has nominated Ukrainian writer Serhiy Zhadan for the Nobel Prize in Literature. “Free Ukraine speaks and thinks in the words of Zhadan in many ways,” the Academy said in an official statement.
Post-Soviet reality in Ukraine is the main narrative of the author’s works. The figure of Serhiy Zhadan is an important component of social and creative processes in Ukraine, the author takes an active public position. In particular, for many years he criticized the pro-Russian government in his native Kharkiv and the country, opposed censorship, and participated in actions on the threat of censorship in Ukraine (2010-2011). He took an active part in the Euromaidan revolution in 2013-2014, suffered while protecting the building of the Kharkiv Regional State Administration from the assault of pro-Russian activists. After the Russian annexation of Crimea and the Eastern regions of Ukraine started, Serhiy launched the “Charity Foundation of Serhiy Zhadan”, which works on helping children in occupied territories and families of fallen militaries of Ukraine, including volunteers.
Since the beginning of the war in February 2022, Serhiy Zhadan has been staying in his native city Kharkiv, which is currently one of the hotspots in Ukraine suffering from artillery shelling and bombing by the Russian occupiers. Serhiy has joined the volunteer movement and is collecting ammunition for volunteer battalions in Kharkiv. In addition, almost every morning he posts photos of Kharkiv on Facebook and writes touching texts about his hometown. “He fights” as concluded in a statement.
CultureHeadquarters / Lviv
Hnat Khotkevych Palace Of Culture
Ми – люди культури. Ми – люди літератури. Та перш за все, ми – люди, ми Українці.
Наша справа – плекати любов до людей, цінності толерантності до іншого, підтримки різноманітності.
Вам, колеги, знайома українська культура, Ви знаєте, наскільки вона багата та різна, ми презентуємо Вам кримську культуру, говоримо про Львівських євреїв та їх неоціненний вклад у історію нашого міста, України та Європи, розповідаємо про львівських письменників, що були змушені тікати до Польщі. Ми, загалом, завжди демонструємо та підтримуємо різноманіття культур.
А тепер нас “карають” за те, що ми – інші. Сподіваємось, ніхто з Вас більше не вірить у те, що ця війна – визвольна? росія чомусь вирішила, що українців треба “визволити” від…чого? Від демократії та прийняття загальнолюдських цінностей? Від того, що ми хочемо йти власним шляхом, не підкоряючись російській владі та пропаганді? У 2014 році вони вкотре зазіхнули на наші права та свободи і ось уже 8 років ми боремось за суверенну Україну. 8 років ми кричимо на весь світ про те, що відбувається, 8 років наші письменники пишуть “Листи з України” і не тільки, знімають фільми, роблять проєкти… Це не проблема 18 днів, друзі, це проблема століть. Але тепер вона як ніколи гостра.
Чому ми повинні, у 2022 році, тікати до Польщі, Німеччини, Чехії, а то й далі, до Великої Британії та Ісландії.
Агов, ми не хочемо нікуди тікати!
Та все ж, люди з Києва, Маріуполя, Одеси, Запоріжжя, Мелітополя, Харкова вимушені це робити. Вони тікають до Львова, або далі – до Європи, уявіть собі, без речей. Один рюкзак, в який ти складаєш своє життя, бо твого дому вже немає.
В результаті бомбардування було пошкоджено харківський будинок “Слово”. Історична літературна пам’ятка, будинок, де жили Микола Хвильовий, Антін Крушельницький, Іван Багряний, Лесь Курбас, та інші. Згодом їх назвуть “Розстріляним Відродженням” та весь світ знатиме про них дізнається, як про геніальних українських письменників, що потрапили під російські репресії.
У столітті толерантності та цілей сталого розвитку, ми знову піддаємося репресіям, вони руйнують наші “Слово” та церкви, вони руйнують наші лікарні та пологові будинки, вони руйнують наші життя, тисячами.
18 днів активної війни тривають вічність, стільки слів та маніфестів було сказано за цей час, та жоден з них не виражає того, що ми відчуваємо, сповна. Цей допис також не виразить.
Львів – Місто літератури, у якому багато з Вас були, в якому більшість із нас живе, Місто, що надихає, Місто, що зберігає українські традиції, привітне та спокійне, сьогодні, вперше з початку війни, піддалось бомбардуванням.
Бомба впала на Миротворчий центр, що знаходиться неподалік від кордону з Польщею, з ЄС. Стільки кілометрів, скільки ми пройшли за день під час Ноттвічу. В результаті нальоту загинуло 35 людей, більше 100 отримали тяжкі поранення. Люди Міста літератури. На кордоні з Європейським Союзом. Загинули від рук російського окупанта.
Ми повинні це зупинити, разом. Усіма можливими методами, санкціями, протестами та, звісно, закриттям над Україною неба, ми повинні зупинити нищівну війну. Ми просимо Вас надати максимального розголосу подіям, що відбуваються тут і зараз, просимо пожертвувати на армію https://www.comebackalive.in.ua/, намагатись повпливати на діячів культури та політики у Ваших містах. Просимо бути з нами та знати, Long Live Ukraine! Адже ми переможемо, адже ми – незламні!
or How to talk about the war in Ukraine
It is important to call what is happening in Ukraine now in accordance with what the Russian Federation and Russian troops are doing on the territory of Ukraine in essence, with no looking for euphemisms. How else, if not a crime and terror, can be called a cruel shelling of a hospital in Mariupol, where there were women in labor. Or the blockade of Mariupol by the Russian military and the obstruction of the humanitarian corridor and the evacuation of civilians: the city has been without water, heat, communications almost two weeks, people are hiding in bomb shelters, there is a lack of food and water; today 300,000 people remain in Mariupol in a danger; 1582 citizens have already died, among them a child who died of dehydration.
Mariupol today in a video by Ukrainian Witness, the chronicle of the Ukrainian resistance to Russian aggression.
How else can it be called, when Russian troops systematically shell evacuation corridors for peasants. When the aggressor has ruined over 200 schools, several dozen healthcare institutions, 8 churches, 1600 residential houses in Ukraine via aviashells. Turned Ukrainian cities into devastations — in Kharkiv 470 buildings were completely destroyed. 2 million Ukrainians have left their cities — the homes and lives of thousands of people have been blasted. Or the power outage of the Russian occupiers of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which poses additional threats to the safety of such a facility.
That’s why a lot of Government institutions, diplomatic organizations as well as intellectual community in UA and abroad are working to convey to audiences around the world the truth about war in Ukraine, especially its preconditions, taking into account the historical context, explaining Russia’s actions against Ukrainian sovereignty and culture in previous decades or even centuries.
Here is a short guide prepared by the Ukrainian Institute on how to talk about the war in Ukraine so that you can be heard and authentic.
ICC working on Russia’s crimes: 2008 flashbacks
On March 10 the group of prosecutors from the International Criminal Court in The Hague arrived in Poland to collect evidence of Russian crimes in Ukraine among Ukrainian refugees. This was emphasized by Polish President Andrzej Duda during a joint press conference in Warsaw with US Vice President Camilla Harris. Poland provides everything the ICC Group needs to provide important work.
The President of the Republic of Poland noted that refugees from Ukraine were arriving in Poland, people who had witnessed the destruction of their homes, the killing of neighbors, the bombing of hospitals, and the shooting of civilians and children. Evidence of these crimes of Russians is available inside hundreds and thousands of smartphones of refugees.
“There is a lot of evidence, especially in the form of videos. It’s all going. This work is already underway and I believe that it will result in indictments. I believe that this will lead to the condemnation of war criminals of this war in Ukraine as a result of a gangster attack by Russia,” Duda said.
Meanwhile Karim Khan – the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court – announced that he is seeking arrest warrants for three men suspected of committing war crimes during the 2008 Russian-Georgian War, who served in the governments of the Russian-backed self-declared republic of South Ossetia.
The Hague-based court opened an investigation into the conflict, which killed hundreds and left thousands of civilians displaced, in 2016. Russia invaded Georgia after violence broke out between separatist groups and Georgian forces. In 2021, the European Court of Human Rights concluded that “grave human rights abuses” occurred on Russian-held territory. Khan noted that his office’s actual investigation into Ukraine since 2014 had turned up similar “patterns” and called on all parties in the ongoing conflict there to respect international humanitarian law.
Cities of Literature Supporting Ukraine
Ukraine is a member of UNESCO Creative Cities Network, as we have 2 Cities of Literature – Lviv and Odessa and City of Music – Kharkiv.
As a Creative Cities we work together to strengthen cultural and social connection, create common senses and spaces for creativity and, amongst others, share a common vision on how important freedom of speech and self expression is. All together, we are working on sustainable development goals. All these factors are impossible to recreate and develop in Ukraine now, unfortunately. In Southern cities we can’t speak even of normal life like eating and sleeping in beds, needless to say about any creativity or sustainability.
For years we are working all together, creating projects, meeting each other at Annual Conferences and Meetings and just being friends. So obviously Cities of Literature are supporting Ukraine, showing solidarity within protests, sanctions and other actions.
Vilnius City of Literature
During Lithuanian Book fair, a readings where organized, by Lithuanian poets to read poetry by Ukrainian poets – Taras Shevchenko, Liuba Jakymchuk, Ilya Kaminsky, Olena Herasymiuk, it was streamed on National TV.
On Wednesday, the Council of Vilnius has decided to name a road section leading to the Russian Embassy, hitherto nameless, Ukraine Heroes Street.
“As of today, the business card of every Russian Embassy employee will bear a tribute to the combativeness of Ukraine and everyone writing down the street address will have to think about the cruelty of the Russian regime against the peaceful Ukrainian people,” Remigijus Šimašius – Vilius City Major said on Wednesday.
Gothenburg City of Literature
Nobel Literature Academy Member Jila Mossaed in Readings for Ukraine.
On Wednesday 2 March, Iranian-Swedish poet Jila Mossaed (chair no. 15 in the Swedish Academy) read Ilya Kaminsky at the event Readings for Ukraine. The event took place at the Gothenburg House of Literature and included readings of texts from a number of Ukrainian writers and poets; Mykola Riabchuk, Yuriy Izdryk, Kateryna Babkina, Olha Brahina, Kateryna Mishchenko, Serhiy Zhadan, Ija Kiva and Andriy Ljubka.
Swedish Speaker of the Riksdag, read Ija Kiva at a literary summit organized by main partners in Gothenburg Unesco City of Literature.
“In these very serious times, we see how cultural heritage, literature, can become a target in war. Part of warfare can be the suppression of another country’s literature and cultural heritage”, – Andreas Norlén concludes his greeting with a poem by the Ukrainian poet Ija Kiva. She wrote the poem, he tells us, on 29 August 2014 when 366 Ukrainian soldiers were killed and the tragedy in Ukraine began.
Here is a country. It remembers Chernobyl, the Holodomor,
Babyn Yar, dissidents, the light-up red star,
A hatchet proudly hanging over bruised necks
And the enormous line for a permanently closed kiosk.
Manchester City of Literature
Manchester is to suspend a “friendship agreement” with St Petersburg following the Russian invasion of Ukraine it has been confirmed.
It comes as the city’s Ukrainian community urged civic leaders to scrap the link in protest at Vladimir Putin’s “barbaric military assault” and instead enter a twinning arrangement with a Ukrainian city. The partnership with St Petersburg is Manchester’s “oldest formal link” according to the city council’s website, and dates back to a friendship agreement signed in 1962, “with a strong focus on cultural exchange throughout the relationship.”
However, ahead of a huge solidarity rally in Piccadilly Gardens this afternoon, the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain called on Manchester to break all ties with Russia. Martyn Chymera, Director of the organization, who lives in Stoneclough near Bolton said: “Glasgow were twinned with Rostov-on-Don and they suspended that yesterday”. Source: Manchester News
The facts about the war in Ukraine
You can find information in different languages on these resources:
- Post Stop War in UA: https://post-to-stop-war.in.ua/en
You can check the information and learn about common Russian fakes and manipulations here:
- Vox Ukraine (in English): https://voxukraine.org/en/
- StopFake (in English, Russian, Spanish and other): https://www.stopfake.org/en/main/
Ukrainian media whose information can be trusted:
- Suspilne (Public broadcasting) (in English): https://twitter.com/suspilne_news
- The National News Agency of Ukraine (in different languages): https://www.ukrinform.net/
- Euromaidan Press (in English) https://euromaidanpress.com/
CultureHeadquarters / Lviv
Hnat Khotkevych Palace Of Culture