UNESCO releases new list of damaged cultural sites across Ukraine | New

The damaged Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial site in Kyiv on March 1, 2022. Image courtesy Ukrainian Foreign Ministry via Twitter

The UN’s official cultural body, UNESCO, has released a new report documenting the damage done to an alarming number of historic sites, monuments and structures since the start of the Russian Federation’s criminal invasion of Ukraine. Russia at the end of February.

The organization has verified that 139 sites have suffered damage since then, a combined total of 62 religious sites, 12 museums, 26 historic buildings, 17 cultural buildings, 15 monuments and 7 libraries, including the Holocaust memorial site from Babyn Yar to Kyiv, which have come under Russian bombs and artillery shells as the conflict shifts from a three-pronged invasion to a more targeted offensive focused on the eastern Donbass region.

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Quite remarkably, none of the country’s sites listed on the organization’s official register of protected cultural property were hit or targeted by the Russian bombardment, the latter act being considered a serious violation under the standards of international law.

Sites listed in the report’s survey, conducted through the end of May, include historic cathedrals in almost every metropolitan area, important cultural institutions such as the Kharkiv Art Museum and the Literary Memorial Skovoroda national park, which was completely destroyed after being hit by a May 7 missile, and another Holocaust memorial site called Drobytskyi Yar which preserves the memory of a 1941 Nazi atrocity that killed 16 000 Ukrainian Jews.

A number of important examples of 18th and 19th century residential architecture were also declared damaged. The cultural devastation present in the list is just one piece of the larger mosaic of a costly war that has wreaked billions of dollars of havoc on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure, suburban apartment buildings, parks, hospitals and educational institutions. Recent estimates of the cost of rebuilding the country are therefore high, with estimates ranging in excess of US$1 trillion.

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“Each church burned by Russia in Ukraine, each school destroyed, each memorial destroyed proves that Russia has no place in UNESCO. What can we talk about with a barbarian state, with a terrorist state? Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a public statement released this week on the matter. “We expect a logical and fair response from the UN and UNESCO. It is the UN, and its charter does not provide for unity with terrorists. Russia’s isolation must be complete, she must be responsible for her crimes.

The full list of sites can be viewed (along with some before and after photos) on the UNESCO website. Also online, ART news maintains a current list of sites damaged during the conflict.