In photos: 152 Ukrainian cultural sites damaged by Russian invasion, UNESCO says

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Topline

According to UNESCO, the cultural arm of the United Nations, more than 150 cultural sites in Ukraine, including churches, museums and monuments, have been damaged or destroyed by war since Russia invaded the country earlier this year. , while officials say Russian forces are deliberately targeting Ukrainian culture.

Highlights

On Thursday, UNESCO said the agency had verified 152 cultural sites partially or totally destroyed due to war, including 70 religious buildings, 30 historical buildings, 18 cultural centers, 15 monuments, 12 museums and seven libraries.

Most of the damaged sites are located in the regions that have seen the most intense war, including 45 in Donetsk, 40 in Kharkiv and 26 in Kyiv, according to UNESCO.

UNESCO noted that none of Ukraine’s seven World Heritage Sites – designations given by the organization to places of “outstanding universal value”, including Saint Sophia Cathedral and the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra Monastery in Kyiv and the historic old town of Lviv – only appears to have been damaged since the start of the invasion.

Key Context

Some officials and diplomats claim that Russia deliberately targets Ukraine’s cultural heritage to support their claim that the country is rightfully part of Russia (Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously described Russia and Ukraine as “two countries , a people”). have identified culture, education and humanity as their enemies,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in May, just after Russian bombs destroyed a cultural and educational center in the Kharkiv region. The destruction of cultural sites and schools in Ukraine by Russian forces “appears systematic,” Michael Carpenter, US ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said earlier this month. Ukrainian Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko said Russian forces also appeared to target religious sites in Ukraine with no clear military significance. “Such crimes by the occupiers cannot destroy our identity,” he said in a statement earlier this month. “On the contrary, they only united Ukrainians.”

Further reading

In photos: here are the Ukrainian cultural sites damaged by the Russian invasion (TAUT)

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