The UN cultural agency on Friday said it had confirmed that at least 53 Ukrainian historic sites, religious buildings and museums had suffered damage during Russia’s invasion of the country.
“This is the latest list but it is not complete as our experts continue to confirm several reports,” filed by Ukrainian authorities, a UNESCO spokesman told AFP as the body published a list of 53 damaged sites in the north and east of the country.
The spokesman said UNESCO used satellite images and witness reports from the scene to verify information provided by Ukrainian authorities.
Sites that UNESCO says have been damaged include more than a dozen in the eastern province of Kharkiv that have been hit by massive fires by Russia, from churches to more modern heritage sites.
Five are in the capital Kyiv while the other five are in the Chernihiv region of northern Ukraine which is home to a group of historic sites.
UNESCO said a total of 29 religious sites, 16 historic buildings four museums and four monuments were confirmed damaged in Ukraine.
The list does not include information from the besieged city of Mariupol or the Russian -occupied city of Kherson.
None of those confirmed damaged are on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in Ukraine, such as the Saint-Sophia Cathedral and the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra monastic building in Kyiv.
However, the historic center of Chernihiv is on the Tentative List, meaning Ukraine wants it considered for World Heritage status.
In a letter sent on March 17, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, UNESCO Director -General Audrey Azoulay reminded Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov of Russia’s obligation to protect cultural heritage during conflicts under international conventions.
“Any violation of this norm will see the perpetrators brought to international responsibility,” he said, adding that UNESCO will closely monitor the state of cultural heritage in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Culture on Friday considered the same subject, saying it had recorded 135 incidents of Russian troops committing crimes against Ukraine’s cultural heritage since the war began, the Interfax-Ukraine news agency reported.
The agency said the crimes included destroying a local history museum in Kyiv region, bombing a drama theater in Mariupol, a southern port city besieged by Moscow for nearly a month, and damaging a Holocaust memorial in Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine.
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