With a blessing from the Russian Orthodox Church, occupation “authorities” in Mariupol have burnt a large library belonging to the Petro Mohyla Church, Mariupol mayoral advisor Petro Andriushchenko said in a Telegram post on June 25.
“Following a visit by Moscow’s FSB agents in clerical robes, the entire library of Mariupol’s Petro Mohyla Church was confiscated and burnt in the courtyard,” said Andriushchenko.
According to Andriushchenko, the library was built-up with the efforts of local volunteers and philanthropists, and contained several unique Ukrainian books, which are now lost forever.
Andriushchenko added that Russians are planning either to demolish the church altogether, or convert it to a Russian Orthodox temple.
Russia has repeatedly said that it is working towards the destruction of Ukrainian culture, and have targeted Ukrainian cultural institutions. In occupied settlements, the occupiers have burnt books and converted schools from Ukrainian language instruction to Russian.
The deliberate cultural erasure of a people is a signifying factor in genocide, according to the United Nations.