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UNESCO: 274 cultural sites damaged in Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk August 1, 2023 4:40 PM 2 min read
The destruction caused to the Transfiguration Cathedral in Odesa by the Russian missile attack on July 23, 2023. (Photo by Oleksandr Gimanov/AFP via Getty Images)
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The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said on July 31 that as of July 26, at least 274 cultural sites had been damaged during the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

This includes 117 religious sites, 27 museums, 98 buildings of historical and/or artistic interest, 19 monuments, 12 libraries, and one archive.

Most of them were damaged in Donetsk Oblast (78), followed by Kharkiv (55), Kyiv (38), Luhansk (33), Chernihiv (17), Zaporizhzhia (12), Sumy (12), Mykolaiv (8), Odesa (8), Kherson (6), Zhytomyr (3), Vinnytsia (2), Lviv (1), and Dnipropetrovsk (1) oblasts.

After Russian strikes against Odesa's historical center, which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site earlier this year, the organization 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, the Director-General of UNESCO visited Odesa to meet with cultural sector stakeholders.

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