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UNESCO mission to visit Odesa, assess damage from Russian attacks

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk July 24, 2023 4:51 PM 2 min read
A view of the damaged building in the historical center of city on July 23, 2023 in Odesa, Ukraine. (Photo by Viacheslav Onyshchenko/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
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A United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) mission will visit Odesa in the coming days to make a preliminary assessment of the damage caused by Russian attacks, Ukraine's Ministry of Culture announced on July 24.

Odesa's historical center was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in January 2023. Russian missile attacks on the night of July 22-23 caused significant damage to the area, which includes the city's historic Transfiguration Cathedral.

One civilian was killed, and 21 were injured, including four children.

At least 44 buildings were damaged, Deputy Head of the President's Office Oleksiy Kuleba reported, including 25 historical buildings. Several museums have also been hit, including the Odesa Archaeological Museum, the Odesa Maritime Museum, and the Odesa Literature Museum.

In a statement released on July 23, UNESCO highlighted that the intentional destruction of cultural sites may amount to a war crime, "as acknowledged also by the United Nations Security Council - of which the Russian Federation is a permanent member."

UNESCO said that it is "dismayed and condemns in the strongest terms the brazen attack carried out by the Russian forces."UNESCO listed "religious buildings" as among the reasons the city center deserved this designation.

On April 4, 2023, the Director-General of UNESCO visited Odesa to meet with cultural sector stakeholders.

According to UNESCO, Odesa's historic center "bears witness to the city’s highly diverse ethnic and religious communities, representing an outstanding example of intercultural exchanges and the growth of multicultural and multi-ethnic Eastern European cities of the 19th century."

President’s Office: Russian missile attack damages 25 historical buildings in Odesa
The Russian missile attack on the historical center of Odesa overnight has damaged 25 historical buildings in the city, Oleksiy Kuleba, Deputy Head of the President’s Office, reported on July 23.
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