Two Russian journalists and their Russian fixer have been injured in the shelling of a historic Armenian church in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, the second attack on the Ghazanchetsots cathedral in one day.
Russian military correspondents Yury Kotenok and Levon Arzanov suffered injuries during a Thursday strike on the cathedral, located in the town of Shusha, the Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesperson told news agency RIA. He added that the journalists’ guide, who is also a Russian citizen, was injured as well.
Kotenok is reported to be in critical condition as local medics continue to fight for his life following an operation. The two other Russians sustained only minor injuries, media reports suggest.
Footage taken at the scene and obtained by RT’s documentary channel, RTD, shows the church and the surrounding area strewn with wreckage and debris. A large hole can also be seen in the building’s ceiling.
A video published by an Armenian broadcaster with ArmNews also reportedly shows the moment when Kotenok was carried out of the cathedral by the locals in the aftermath of the attack.
The head of the Armenian government’s information center, Hovhannes Movsisyan, previously confirmed that a Russian journalist was rushed to a hospital in Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh’s largest city, where he underwent an emergency surgery after being injured in an attack in Shusha.
The shelled Ghazanchetsots cathedral of the Armenian Apostolic Church in Shusha – which is one of the most iconic surviving 19th century Armenian churches – was apparently hit by two attacks in a single day. Armenia’s Defense Ministry has accused Azerbaijan of targeting the cathedral, while Baku has rejected the claim and denied that it was behind the attacks. Azerbaijani forces “do not target historic, cultural and especially religious buildings and monuments,” the country’s defense ministry said.
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