Russian shelling ignited blaze at Kherson’s largest library, dozens of books lost


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Russian forces bombarded the Kherson region’s largest library last Tuesday, igniting a blaze that devastated the fourth floor and many of the books within, a local government representative reported.


Kherson Regional Council Deputy Chairman Yurii Sobolevsky shared images and footage on Telegram depicting the charred black floor and fire-damaged bookshelves of the Kherson Regional Scientific Library of Oles Honchar. He said the damage was due to shelling from a Russian tank.


Sobolevsky also indicated that the library’s technical department and periodicals hall were destroyed in the attack. Footage revealed that staff had begun to collect the surviving volumes, despite their damage, into large white sacks. There were no reported injuries.


“After the victory of Ukraine, we will rebuild everything,” Sobolevsky wrote in Telegram.



Since the invasion, russia destroyed 607 Ukrainian libraries


The library, bearing the name of Oles Honchar, a noted Ukrainian author and World War II era veteran who later became a member of the Ukrainian parliament, is affectionately called “Honcharivka.” It stands as the most extensive library in the Kherson region and boasts the largest book collection among regional libraries in Ukraine. Prior to the widespread Russian incursion, its holdings encompassed approximately one million volumes across 45 languages.


This is not the first time Russians struck the library. In August, the library was damaged by Russian artillery, which had been fired from positions in the temporarily occupied territories on the left bank of the Kherson region, specifically from Oleshky and Hola Prystan. And on Nov. 19, 2022, Russian shelling damaged many of the library’s windows.


As Ukrainian PEN reported , shortly before fleeing from Kherson, the Russian occupiers looted the library, stealing many valuable historical publications.


The occupiers took away valuable pre-revolutionary books from the Kherson library