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UNESCO condemns Russian attacks against cultural heritage sites in Ukraine

by The Kyiv Independent news desk July 23, 2023 11:28 PM 1 min read
The aftermath of the Russian deadly strike against Odesa on July 23. (Oleksiy Kuleba, Deputy Head of the President’s Office/Telegram)
This audio is created with AI assistance

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on July 23 condemned Russia’s overnight missile strike targeting the Ukrainian city of Odesa.

As a result of the missile attack, dozens of historical buildings, including the Transfiguration Cathedral and the Archaeological Museum, were severely damaged.

“This outrageous destruction marks an escalation of violence against the cultural heritage of Ukraine,” said Audrey Azoulay, the organization’s general director.

According to UNESCO, a mission of the organization will arrive in Odesa in the coming days to assess the scale of the damage.

The report says that the attack contradicts recent statements by the Russian government “concerning the precautions taken to spare World Heritage sites in Ukraine including their buffer zones.”

“Intentional destruction of cultural sites may amount to a war crime, as acknowledged also by the UN Security Council,” the statement reads.

As of June 25, Russia had damaged or destroyed more than 664 objects of cultural heritage in Ukraine, according to Kateryna Chuyeva, the Ukrainian deputy minister for culture and information policy.

Russian missile attack destroys historic cathedral in Odesa
Russian missile strikes on Odesa the night of July 23 caused significant damage to the city’s historic Transfiguration Cathedral, the Odesa city administration reported via Telegram.

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