Landmark 19th century Christian cathedral in Nagorno-Karabakh damaged during shelling by Azerbaijani forces – Armenian military
The historic Ghazanchetsots cathedral in the Nagorno-Karabakh town of Shusha was shelled, on Thursday, by Azerbaijani forces in the ongoing conflict over the disputed region, an Armenian military spokesperson has claimed.
“[Our] enemy Azerbaijan has hit the symbol of Shusha,” Armenia’s defense ministry spokesperson Artsrun Hovhannisyan wrote on social media. He posted a photo showing a cloud of smoke coming from the Apostolic church’s tower.
Photos from inside of the Holy Savior Cathedral show a large hole in the structure’s ceiling, as well as debris and rubble scattered on the floor.
Ghazanchetsots, a cathedral of the Armenian Apostolic Church, was consecrated in 1888. Standing 35-meters high (115ft), it is considered one of the largest, and most iconic, Armenian churches in the world.
Azerbaijan promptly denied hitting the cathedral. A defense ministry spokesperson was quoted as saying that “the information about the damage to the church in Shusha has nothing to do with the activities of the Azerbaijani Army.”
The Azerbaijani forces “do not target historic, cultural and especially religious buildings and monuments," the spokesperson said.
Shusha has been shelled several times since the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh – an Armenian-populated enclave inside what is internationally recognised as Azerbaijan – resumed on September 27. One of the shells destroyed its ‘Culture Center’ building on Sunday, causing civilian casualties on the ground.Also on rt.com Azerbaijan & Armenia at war: What you need to know about bloody conflict over long-disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh (MAP)
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