The researchers conclude that the Russian military often intentionally destroys churches and religious buildings
The Academic Religious Studies Workshop initiated the "Religion in Fire" project, which was supported by the State Service of Ukraine for Ethnopolitics and Freedom of Conscience and the Congress of National Communities of Ukraine.
One of the authors, Karen Nikiforov, spoke about the project with "Vechirniy Kyiv" ("Evening Kyiv"). Nikiforov is the head of the theology, religious studies and history of religion section of the Kyiv Small Academy of Sciences and a member of the expert commission of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine on history.
"During the war, our team's task is to collect data on war crimes the Russian Federation commits on the territory of Ukraine against religious communities of various denominations. Human rights organizations can use this data as evidence to bring the aggressor to justice," says Nikiforov.
Kyiv, Zhytomyr and Chernihiv regions felt the impact of Russian weapons and military barbarism in the very first days of the war.
Today, according to the religious scholar and historian, his own field group's expeditions to the bombed churches, religious schools, and houses of prayer provide content that serves as indisputable evidence of Russia's crimes. The scientists also discovered several objects not listed in state registers.
"It is important because today, only the documentation collected per the generally accepted protocols can show the emerging statistics," Karen Nikiforov explained.
The US State Department supported the project as "Religion in Fire" shows how Russia violates one of the primary human rights - the right to freedom of conscience - during the "special operation".
The facts show that the Russian military often intentionally destroys churches and religious buildings. Orthodox, Catholic, Muslim, and Protestant churches are under fire from the troops of a country that is essentially at war not only with Ukraine but also with God.