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UNESCO condemns Russian attack on Odesa's historic center

by The Kyiv Independent news desk July 22, 2023 6:34 PM 2 min read
Firefighters extinguish fire at a damaged building after a Russian attack against Odesa on July 19, 2023. (Photo by State Emergency Service of Ukraine/ Pavlo Petrov/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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UNESCO issued a statement on July 21 condemning the recent Russian missile attacks that damaged Odesa's historic city center, a designated world heritage site.

According to the U.N. agency, "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" following the destruction of a historic building during the Russian missile attack on Lviv in early July.

Russia launched a series of missile and drone strikes against Ukraine's port infrastructure in Odesa Oblast and destroyed 60,000 tons of grain after withdrawing from the U.N.- and Turkey-brokered grain deal on July 17.

Several museums were damaged during the attacks, including the Odesa Archaeological Museum, the Odesa Maritime Museum, and the Odesa Literature Museum.

The historic part of Odesa was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site earlier this year. Ukraine is home to eight heritage sites in total.

"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," the U.N. agency wrote.

This Week in Ukraine Ep. 15 – Why culture matters during war
Episode #15 of our weekly video podcast “This Week in Ukraine” is dedicated to Ukrainian culture, the important role it plays in war, and why it has been a target of Russian dictators for decades. Host Anastasiia Lapatina is joined by the Kyiv Independent’s culture reporter Kate Tsurkan. Listen to

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