News Europe Guterres warns that the Russian invasion is “increasingly” a “threat” to Ukrainian...

Guterres warns that the Russian invasion is “increasingly” a “threat” to Ukrainian culture

Guterres warns that the Russian invasion is “increasingly” a “threat” to Ukrainian culture

The Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, has condemned the recent Russian attacks against the Ukrainian city of Odessa that have caused civilian casualties and damaged historic buildings protected by UNESCO, such as the great Orthodox cathedral, for which he has warned that this war is “increasingly” a “threat” to the culture of Ukraine.

“In addition to the terrible number of civilian victims that the war is claiming, this is another attack in an area protected by the World Heritage Convention, in violation of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the event of armed conflict,” Guterres’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, explained in a statement.

The spokesman stated that “the Secretary General is concerned about the threat that this war increasingly poses to Ukrainian culture and heritage”, since since the war began on February 24, 2022, UNESCO has estimated 270 damaged cultural sites.

That is why Guterres has urged the Kremlin “to immediately cease attacks against cultural property protected by widely ratified international normative instruments,” while also calling for an end to attacks against civilians and infrastructure.

This weekend’s attacks on the city of Odessa have caused extensive damage to the Spaso-Preobrazhenskyi Cathedral, also known as the Transfiguration Cathedral, consecrated in 1809. The impact of at least one missile has collapsed the roof of one of the aisles and caused enormous damage to the inner atrium. Virtually the entire roof has suffered damage, although its domes remain almost intact for the moment.

A preliminary assessment by UNESCO revealed damage to the Archaeological Museum, the Maritime Museum and the Museum of Literature, three buildings with the blue badge of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.

The attacks on Odessa have also followed the destruction of another world heritage site, the Cultural Center for Folk Art and Art Education in the city of Nikolaev, a hundred kilometers away.

For its part, the Russian Defense Ministry has denied all responsibility and blamed the destruction of the cathedral on a Ukrainian missile, part of the air defense system that is being used, according to the ministry’s words in a statement, by the “illiterate” Ukrainian forces.

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