Simon O'CorraMay 2, 2022
Russia's use of Grad Rockets is well documented but perhaps few lay people know the damage they can do to Ukraine's cultural heritage. It is, in fact, unlikely that such a rocket blast would totally destroy a building made of hard materials. Each of the 20 rocket rounds can deliver almost 4000 fragments that disperse a few moments after detonation, so it does not take much to realize the extent of peripheral damage that can occur from a single strike.
The image below from 2015 clearly shows the fire power of Grad missiles when they were used by Russia to destroy a church in Luganskoye, in the region of Donetsk, one of the two regions that Russia is currently fighting Ukraine for the control of.
Grads are especially thorough in damaging glass, and this is a terrible ability when one considers the often priceless stained glass contained in so many of Ukraine's churches which are being hit.
As so many of these places may be by their very nature embedded in communities, the scope for great damage is increased. Rural or parkland environments would see the blast dissipate, but in urban or built up areas such as villages and towns, the proximity of buildings increases the force of the blast. bouncing back and amplifying blast waves, causing extensive if not severe damage.
It would take a direct hit to totally destroy a building like a church or a museum, as a single Grad rocket does not carry such a large charge. However, what is being seen with many of these buildings is them being peppered with holes, destroyed glass, and fires caused by the intense heat of the blast.
Russia is constantly developing its process to force the population to yield to their aggression and territorial claims. Footage from the city of Kharkiv a few weeks ago, clearly shows a church in the middle of the city, at the center of a cluster of grad missile strikes.
Grad missiles allow a blanket cover of blast damage especially if 20 rockets are all sent together, this is because it is impossible to alter the course of a single rocket once it is launched and issues such a meteorological aspects can also spread the overall range and area hit, of those 20 missiles.
Alternatively, the beautiful church of St George, in Zavorochi, a small village was recently destroyed by heavy shelling which means that a greater amount of explosives were used and because gun artillery shells have far greater accuracy a direct hit was possible. A video exists showing the massive devastation caused by the shelling as opposed to the widespread range of the Grad.
The arbitrary aspect of the cover a Grad missile strike can achieve means that it is only fate, as it was in the No Man's Land of the 1914-1918 war, that saves any given building. This nature of the missiles used, may be a means to let Russia off the hook, in terms of a planned destruction of heritage buildings, a war crime in itself. Conversely the use of such a weapon as a Grad may be a cunning way for Russia to dodge its responsibility in committing war crimes on Heritage buildings. Of course this does not excuse the humanitarian war crimes being committed every day by those same Grad missiles.
Simon O'Corra has been a creative since childhood, working in theatre and film and also as a designer and artist. He now combines all these skills to write monologues, duologues, short and feature films and plays. He also has experience in the following: copywriting, research, mind mapping and brainstorming, script editing and mentoring. Simon is a people's person and is a great networker. He currently has a range of short and feature films in development and plays also awaiting production dates post-Covid.