Address by the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, 4 June 2022
All our defenders!
On this day, the 101st day of the full-scale war, the Skete of All Saints burned down in the Svyatohirsk Lavra in the Donetsk region. It caught fire as a result of Russian artillery shelling.
Not the first shelling of the Lavra. Three Lavra monks were killed by the Russian shelling on Wednesday. Worship services are forced to be held in the basement. The roar of artillery and the “arrivals” of Russian shells are constant in the Lavra.
And this is one of the three Lavras of Ukraine. This is the Lavra of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, which is still considered in Moscow to be connected with the Russian Orthodox Church. Even this does not stop the Russian army.
They are ready to burn everything: Orthodox churches just like anything else in Ukraine. During the full-scale war, 113 churches have already been destroyed or damaged by Russian shelling. Among them are the ancient ones – those that withstood World War II, but did not withstand the Russian occupation. There are also those that were built after 1991. Reconstruction of the Skete of All Saints of the Svyatohirsk Lavra began in 2001. June 10 would be another anniversary of the beginning of construction.
I was interested in what Russian propagandists would say about the destruction of the skete. But, in fact, nothing interesting. They are very predictable. Ukrainians are accused of arson. Although the monks and laity in Svyatohirya saw perfectly that it was Russian artillery.
I believe that this lie of the propagandists, this shelling, and the support of the Orthodox hierarchs in Russia for the aggression against Ukraine – all this should motivate the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to draw conclusions. More decisive conclusions and a clear condemnation of each of those who condone aggression.
Ukrainian diplomats will do everything to make everyone in the world aware of this another crime of the occupiers. Russia is deliberately and systematically destroying Ukraine’s cultural and historical heritage, as well as social infrastructure, housing, and everything necessary for normal life.
A state that does this cannot be a member of UNESCO and cannot remain at the UN as if nothing had happened. The UN Charter does not provide any rights for terrorists, and UNESCO is not a place for barbarians.
Russian troops again fired at the border areas of the Sumy region, Mykolaiv, cities and communities of the Zaporizhzhia region, Kharkiv region.
The situation in Severodonetsk, where street fighting continues, remains extremely difficult. It is also difficult in Lysychansk, Marinka, Kurakhove, other cities and communities of Donbas. Constant air strikes, artillery and missile fire. As of this morning, the total number of various Russian missiles used against Ukraine is already 2,503.
Our heroes hold their positions and do everything to inflict maximum losses on the enemy. I am grateful to each of our defenders who are approaching the day when Russia will have to leave Donbas alone.
Today in our country the memory of children who died from Russian aggression was honored. Over the past day, the worst figure – the number of children killed – has not changed. 261 children. That’s how many Ukrainian children lost their lives because of Russia. But this is the official number. The more we learn about those who were buried in the occupied territories, the greater, unfortunately, may be the number of names on this list.
It’s scary to read. Year of birth, place of residence, circumstances of death… All of them would be alive now if only one person in Moscow had not caused this catastrophe.
This can no longer be fixed. Because this war is already going on. But the terrible consequences of this war can be stopped at any moment.
The Russian army can stop burning churches. The Russian army can stop destroying cities. The Russian army can stop killing children. If the same person in Moscow just gives such an order. And the fact that there is still no such order is an obvious humiliation for the whole world.
Eternal memory to all who died from the Russian invasion!
Eternal glory to everyone who defends Ukraine!
Glory to Ukraine!
See the text and video of the address on the official presidential website here.
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