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World News

Army chaplain witnesses Russian missiles landing in Lviv

by Glyn Jones

A Ukrainian army chaplain admits he was scared as he watched a series of explosions set fire to power stations on the outskirts of the city where he lives and works.

27-year-old Father Roman Mentukh was inside the garrison church of St Peter and St Paul when the air raid sirens went off. After sheltering in a bomb shelter, he set off back to his home.

As he arrived, he witnessed a missile strike hit the outskirts of the city. "First I heard four explosions and then I saw the fire and, yes, I was a little bit scared." 

"But even when you see that you understand that we have to pray and we have to believe in our military forces."

Lviv is in the west of Ukraine and has escaped the worst of the Russian bombardments, which have been focussed on eastern areas of the country. 

But the latest attacks have disrupted the sense of peaceful normality.  

One of the reasons Russia has renewed its attacks on Lviv, is that the city is a strategic centre for Ukraine's railway network. 

Military supplies and humanitarian aid are often routed via the city. 

Father Mentukh tells Premier, "a lot of different supplies from western countries come first to Lviv and then we send this support to our soldiers."

By targeting power stations, Russia hope to disrupt those supply lines. But the explosions also left a large part of Lviv without electricity disrupted water supplies.

The Roman Catholic army chaplain says any impact on morale in the city will be short lived. 

"First we feel scared, but then we understand that being scared doesn't help us to win.

"It's the Russian main idea to make Ukrainian people scared - they can do that in the very short term, but after that again, and again, we try to stop them."

Father Mentukh spends his days ministering to refugees from other parts of Ukraine, who are sheltering in Lviv and the batttalions based at the garrison.

"My main work is to give them spiritual support. Again and again I remind our soldiers that death is defeated by Jesus Christ.

He adds, "they are ready to stop this evil. They are ready to fight for their country."

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