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Ombudsman: Russia must be prosecuted for destruction of Ukrainian culture, heritage

by The Kyiv Independent news desk April 19, 2023 3:22 AM 2 min read
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Ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said on April 17 that Russia's destruction of Ukrainian cultural heritage and its violation of cultural rights breaches the norms of international humanitarian law.

Lubinets highlighted the dismantling of a monument dedicated to Ukrainian artist Arkhyp Kuindzhi by Russian forces in occupied Mariupol, as well as the theft of nearly 2,000 pieces from the Kuindzhi Art Museum in the city.

According to UNESCO, 251 cultural heritage sites in Ukraine—including religious sites, libraries, and museums—are confirmed to have been damaged since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion as of April 12, 2023.

Lubinets referred to Russia's destruction of Ukraine's cultural heritage sites as a war crime under the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, calling for Moscow to be tried in international courts for the "destruction of Ukrainian culture and violation of the cultural rights of Ukrainians."

A report published by the Ukrainian government, the World Bank, the European Commission, and the United Nations on April 4 indicated that Russia's full-scale war has caused over $2.6 billion in damages to Ukraine's cultural heritage.

Thirty percent of Kharkiv Oblast's cultural heritage has been impacted by the full-scale invasion, which is more than any other region in Ukraine, the findings of the report stated.

The other two oblasts whose cultural heritage has been most affected by Russia's war are Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, located in Ukraine's east and the site of the war's most intense battles.

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8:28 PM

FT: Russia may be gearing up for large-scale offensive against Ukraine.

Russian forces may be preparing for a large-scale offensive in late spring or summer, aiming to capture more land in Ukraine's partially-occupied Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, the Financial Times reported on April 13, citing unnamed Ukrainian and Western officials.
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