ARTSAKH— On Thursday, October 8, the Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shushi, Artsakh, also known as Holy Savior Cathedral, was severely damaged after two air raids by Azerbaijani missiles.
The Ghazanchetsots Cathedral was built between 1868 and 1887. It was previously damaged in the 1920 Sushi massacres of Armenians by Azerbaijan. In 1998, in the aftermath of the Artsakh Liberation War, it was restored and reconsecrated. The Ghazanchetsots Cathedral has served as a symbol of the Artsakh cause.
Paul Ronzheimer, a German reporter in Artsakh, documented video of the destruction within the cathedral. Stones were scattered, pews were destroyed and a hole was left in the ceiling. In a tweet, he stated that civilians who had sought shelter in the basement, including many children, were unharmed.
According to local authorities, after the initial strike three journalists gathered at Ghazanchetsots to document the devastation but were injured in the second strike. Yuri Kotenok, the editor-in-chief of the Russian newspaper Segodnya, sustained critical injuries and is in a Stepanakert hospital. Levon Arzanov, a Russian citizen and war correspondent, and their local guide Hrant Badalyan were also wounded.
U.S. Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey condemned the attack, tweeting: “The intentional targeting of civilian targets by Azeri forces, including the historic Ghazanchetsots Cathedral, is abhorrent and deserves international condemnation.”
Azerbaijan denied the attack, and instead alleged that Armenian forces fired at the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, though there was no evidence of this.