Saturday, May 21, 2022

At least 53 Ukraine cultural sites damaged in war, likely more: UNESCO

Russian attacks have damaged at least 53 historical sites, religious buildings and museums in Ukraine, and the number is likely higher, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization said.

“This is the latest list, but it is not exhaustive, as our experts are continuing to verify a number of reports” filed by Ukrainian authorities, a UNESCO spokesperson told AFP as the body published a list of the 53 sites where it has confirmed damage .

The UN agency is using satellite images and witness reports from the scene to verify information provided by the Ukrainian authorities about sites hit with shelling or other damage.

None of the seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ukraine have verified damage yet, but several sites on the agency’s “tentative” list of sites it is considering to add have been hit. Most notably, the historic center of Chernihiv, known for its ancient monasteries, has been pummeled by near-continuous shelling since the Russian invasion Feb. 24. Five different sites have been damaged there, the agency said.

The Saint Sophia Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is seen from a surrounding wall tower in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, March 26, 2022.
The Saint Sophia Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is seen from a surrounding wall tower in Kyiv, Ukraine on March 26, 2022.
AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda
Destroyed residential buildings after shelling by the Russian military, in Boguniya district / Zhytomyr, On 24 February
Destroyed residential buildings after shelling by the Russian military, in Zhytomyr, Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.
Yaghobzadeh Alfred/Abaca/Sipa US
A man walks past a damaged building in Mariupol, April 1, 2022.
A man walks past a damaged building in Mariupol, on April 1, 2022.
CHINE NOUVELLE/SIPA/Shutterstock

UNESCO also named over a dozen, including churches, in the eastern Kharkiv region, which has been under intense Russian fire since the start of the war. Five more damaged sites are in the capital, Kyiv.

It said that, overall it confirmed damage on 29 religious sites, 16 historic buildings, four museums and four monuments.

The list does not include information from the besieged city of Mariupol or the city of Kherson, which has been captured by Russia.

Ukraine’s culture ministry on Friday said its count of “crimes against Ukraine’s cultural heritage” is up to 135, the Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported. That list included the bombed theater in Mariupol where at least 300 who were seeking shelter were killed and damaging a Holocaust memorial in Kharkiv.

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