In the early hours of 1 January, a Russian kamikaze drone attack completely destroyed a museum in Lviv Oblast dedicated to Roman Shukhevych, the leader of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). Lviv’s Mayor, Andriy Sadovyi, reported, emphasizing the symbolic and cynical nature of the attack. He noted, “War for our history.”
This attack on the museum coincided with the birthday of Stepan Bandera, a controversial Ukrainian nationalist, and targeted another site of national memory in Lviv: the university in Dubliany where Bandera studied a century ago.
Stepan Bandera was the leader of a radical part of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), which split from the initial OUN. He was one of the organizers of the proclamation of the act of restoration of the Ukrainian state in Lviv on 30 June 1941, immediately after the German occupation of the city. Germans didn’t accept this proclamation and arrested Bandera on 5 July.
The Shukhevych Museum, opened in 2001 with the support of the UPA Soldiers Society in the USA, named after General Taras Chuprynka, was more than a mere building; it was a historical landmark. Housed in the former headquarters of the UPA chief commander, where Shukhevych met his end, the museum represented a poignant slice of Ukrainian resistance history.
Exhibitions at the museum span two floors, with the first floor showcasing thematic rooms filled with photographs and documents depicting various periods of Shukhevych’s life and work. The second floor, a crucial part of the museum, reconstructed the domestic life of the UPA commander during his underground resistance period (Spring 1948 – Early 1950).
Head of Lviv Military administration revealed the preliminary damages incurred by the museum due to the nocturnal attack. The estimated loss is over UAH 2 million ($51,000), accounting only for the building’s value. Moreover, a part of the invaluable exhibits has been lost, with the extent of damage still being assessed.
Overnight on 1 January, the Russian army attacked Ukraine with 90 explosive drones, four S-300 ballistic missiles, three anti-aircraft missiles, and one air-launched guided missile, while Ukraine’s air defenders shot down a record 87 UAVs, Ukraine’s Air Force says. The Russian attack killed a teenager in Odesa and injured eight other civilians, local authorities reported.
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