Russia's invasion of Ukraine has caused around $3.5 billion worth of damage to the country's heritage and cultural sites, a United Nations agency said on Tuesday.

Since the Russian invasion began in February 2022, the sectors of culture, tourism, and entertainment have suffered a combined loss of around $19 billion in revenues, UNESCO stated.

This marks a significant increase from the previous estimate of nearly $2.6 billion in damage reported by the Paris-based organization last year.

UNESCO utilized satellite imagery to evaluate the extent of the destruction, revealing that over 5,000 sites have been impacted. Among these are more than 340 significant locations such as museums, monuments, libraries, and religious venues.

That figure stood at 248 sites as of April last year.

The devastation caused by Russian strikes has particularly affected two UNESCO World Heritage sites: the medieval center of Lviv in the west and Odesa in the south of Ukraine.


Chiara Dezzi Bardeschi, UNESCO's representative in Ukraine, highlighted the damage inflicted upon Odesa's Transfiguration Cathedral, which she described as a "symbol for the whole community."

The cathedral, originally founded in 1794 and later reconstructed in the 2000s with donations after its destruction by the Soviets in 1936, was badly damaged in a Russian strike in July last year.

Bardeschi emphasized the religious and spiritual significance of the cathedral for the city, noting that despite its value to the community, it can no longer be utilized due to the destruction it suffered.

WORLD BRIEFING: April 21, 2024
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Currently, seven cultural sites and one natural site in Ukraine are included in UNESCO's World Heritage List, with the historic center of Odesa being one of them.

Additionally, sixteen other sites in Ukraine are awaiting formal application by the government in Kyiv to be considered for World Heritage status.

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