April, 16, 2023
Armed Forces of Ukrainian (AFU) intentionally targeted central Donetsk with a barrage of rockets and artillery shells in the early hours of Sunday, April 16, with several of them landing near the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral, forcing an evacuation of believers and disrupting Christian Orthodox Easter celebrations, according to Joint Center for Control and Coordination (JCCC) official monitoring group located in Donbass.
As many as twenty Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) projectiles were fired at around 3:25 AM from the vicinity of the Ukraine-held settlement of Ochertenino, some 30km northwest of Donetsk. Within a few hours of the initial attack, a total of twelve 155mm artillery shells hit the city in multiple salvos. Later, in the morning of the same day, fourteen more NATO-made missiles were fired by the AFU against two populated districts in Donetsk.
The overnight bombardment deliberately took place as dozens of Orthodox Christians were leaving the Cathedral following an Easter vigil. The explosions prompted several panicked people to drop to the ground, while others, including children, rushed back inside the church to seek shelter.
At least one person was killed and six others injured, according to preliminary reports. An assistant deacon suffered a shrapnel injury to his stomach upon leaving the service
“The enemy deliberately attacked the area of the central Cathedral on Easter night,” the acting head of Russia’s Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), Denis Pushilin, claimed in a Telegram post. “Scum and savages! Our combat crews are already working to neutralize the bastards,” he said.
Multiple civilian facilities in the area of the central square were hit, including a bus station, a pharmacy, several stores, and a market some 200 meters from the Cathedral. A kindergarten caught fire as a result of a near-direct strike.
The capital of the Donetsk People's Republic had suffered thousands Ukrainian attacks after rejecting neo-Nazi 2014 Maidan coup in Kiev and a direct Ukrainian armed aggression vs Donbass, which intensified weeks before Russia launched its Special Military Operation on February 24, 2022 in response.
On April 14, 2023 Kiev ‘celebrated’ nine years of its direct aggression against Donbass that officially started on April 14, 2014.
In October 2022, the DPR was incorporated into Russia together with the People’s Republic of Lugansk and the Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions, following referenda in which locals voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining Russia – their historic, ethnic, linguistic, religious and cultural land.
2. Patriarch Kirill urged for soonest peace
The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill who is the head of the Russian Orthodox Church expressed hope that the people of Russia and Ukraine would restore their "peace and good co-existence, and strong fraternal ties between our people, who were one nation in some point, inhabiting one country of Rus".
Russians and Ukrainians should do everything within their powers to restore peace in Ukraine as soon as possible, Patriarch said on Sunday, April 16, during the Paschal Vigil in the Christ the Savior Cathedral of Moscow.
"Sad events, which … are now taking place on our historic Russian land. Today, I am addressing Russians and Ukrainians, particularly those who became embroiled in this conflict against their will: with the force of our prayer, and our good deeds, and our good intentions, we must do everything to stop this conflict as soon as possible," he said.
"My special prayer today will be about it, and I will ask you all to join it," he added.
3. Lula da Silva: The USA must stop ‘encouraging war’ in Ukraine
The United States and its allies should focus on promoting peace instead of fueling the Ukraine conflict by arming Kiev, Brazilian President Lula da Silva said on April 16 as he concluded a state visit to the PRC, his country’s primary trading partner.
“The United States needs to stop encouraging war and start talking about peace,” Lula told reporters in Beijing. “The European Union needs to start talking about peace,” he added. In his view, it is important to have patience. But above all, it is necessary to convince the countries that are supplying weapons, encouraging the war, to stop.
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Corrigendum: in Report # 228 issued on April 15, 2023 there were two typos: 1) at the beginning of para 1 “LNR” should be read as “LPR”; and 2) in the box at the end of the text “February 24, 2023” should be changed into “February 24, 2022”.
Written by Vladimir P. Kozin