On July 21, UNESCO issued the following press release.
Further to the statement made by the UN Secretary-General, UNESCO condemns the Russian attack in the buffer zone of the World Heritage property “The Historic Centre of Odesa”, affecting buildings of cultural significance within the property.
Taking place just two weeks after the strike that destroyed a historic building in Lviv, this attack is the second to date in an area protected under the World Heritage Convention in violation of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict. This strike also coincided with the destruction of the Culture Centre of Folk Art and Art Education in the city of Mykolaiv, a hundred kilometers away.
UNESCO expresses its support to the people of Odesa and conveys its sincere condolences to the families of victims.
A preliminary assessment in Odesa has revealed damage to several museums inside the World Heritage property, including the Odesa Archaeological Museum, the Odesa Maritime Museum and the Odesa Literature Museum. They had all been marked by UNESCO and local authorities with the Blue Shield, the distinctive emblem of the 1954 Hague Convention.
The museums, which have already received support from UNESCO since the start of the Russian invasion, have notably benefited from the implementation of urgent repair, protection and digitization measures, which are at the heart of UNESCO’s emergency assistance programs for Ukraine, implemented in close cooperation with the Organization’s international partners.
On Thursday, July 20, UNESCO exchanged with World Heritage site managers to reaffirm the Organization’s support for the protection of the Historic Centre of Odesa and to identify urgent needs for assistance.
Once again, UNESCO calls for a cessation of attacks against cultural property protected by widely ratified international normative instruments.
This war represents an ever-increasing threat to Ukrainian culture. To date, UNESCO has verified damage to 270 cultural sites in Ukraine since 24 February 2022.
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