Ukraine creates a digital platform to document religious structures destroyed by Russia
Data on 8 of these sites is now available on the "Temples Under Fire" platform, as reported by the initiators of the "UP. Life" initiative.
The website features photos and videos of the destruction and damage to religious buildings of various denominations, which were documented during expeditions. The project's authors aim to document Russia's destruction of Ukrainian religious sites, draw attention to the harm done to Ukraine's spiritual and cultural heritage, and contribute to the restoration of these temples in the future.
"We tried to select religious buildings of different denominations: Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP), Baptists, Protestants, Muslims, and more. We focused on populated areas where the fiercest battles took place," said the project initiators.
"All religions and confessions represented in Ukraine have suffered losses. For example, in Bakhmut, a mosque was completely destroyed; in Kramatorsk, a Krishna temple was destroyed; in Druzhkivka, a prayer house of Evangelical Christians-Baptists was destroyed; in Ruskyi Tyshky, a wooden church of the OCU, and so on. However, the largest number of destroyed and damaged churches belong to the religious communities of the UOC-MP – over 80 and over 200, respectively," state the project's authors.
As of the beginning of 2023, at least 494 religious structures, religious educational institutions, and shrines have been destroyed, damaged, or looted by Russian occupiers in Ukraine, according to the Institute for Religious Freedom.
The highest number of destroyed objects is in the Donetsk region (over 120) and the Luhansk region (over 70). Extensive destruction is also documented in Kharkiv, Kherson, and Kyiv regions.
Currently, detailed information on 8 destroyed religious structures can be viewed on the website. The project will expand and be supplemented with processed materials about cult buildings from other regions of Ukraine affected by the war.
Previously, Ukraine launched the digital platform "Destruction Map," which documents the consequences of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.