Destroying Ukrainian cultural goods is a deliberate and cruel act of the Kremlin, said Polish ambassador to the United Nations Krzysztof Szczerski during the session of the United Nations Security Council. It was devoted to the wartime destruction of cultural heritage in Ukraine.
The informal meeting of the members of the Security Council (the so-called Arria formula) was held at the initiative Albania, Poland and Ukraine. – In its war propaganda, Moscow excels in inciting hatred, slander and contempt towards everything that is Ukrainian. We saw today that it does not end with the people, but extends to monuments, theaters, schools, youth centers and cemeteries. Before our eyes, they are devastated and plundered. These are not military goals, unless one strives to annihilate the nation, argued Szczerski.
Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Culture, Kateryna Chuyeva, speaking via the video link, said that “according to Putin, Ukrainian culture and national identity are the target of this war.”
She also said that so far Russian forces have attacked and damaged 423 cultural sites in Ukraine, including 128 monuments, 127 places of worship, 46 memorials, 33 museums and 59 cultural centers such as theaters, cinemas and libraries.
Szczerski on “total war”
According to Szczerski, “the extensive destruction of the cultural heritage of Ukraine, which we have just heard about, shows the true goals of the aggressor.”
– This is fully in line with the rhetoric used by the Kremlin in the run-up to the attack on Ukraine and also today. If the aggressor denies the attacked nation the right to exist, how else can it be called if not a total war? And the fate of hundreds of seriously damaged or destroyed cultural objects proves that Russian aggression is indeed a total war – said the Polish ambassador.
– In Poland, we are very sensitive to the issue of destroying cultural heritage, mainly due to the turbulent history of our country. (…) We share our knowledge with full commitment and provide all necessary support in the reconstruction and I am very proud of the launch of the Polish Cultural Assistance Center in Ukraine, which is to play such a role – said Szczerski.
“Repairing the damage will require a huge investment of time and money”
According to the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Poland to the United Nations, “repairing the damage caused by the Russian aggressors will require enormous outlays of time and financial resources.”
– Holding Russia accountable for all crimes committed in Ukraine, including those against its cultural heritage, requires Ukrainians to receive appropriate war reparations that will ease the burden of rebuilding their homeland. We encourage the entire international community to pursue this goal, Szczerski appealed.
The initiative of Poland, Albania and Ukraine to organize a meeting of the UNSC was officially supported by, inter alia, Australia, Austria, BelgiumBulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Montenegro, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Georgia, Spain, Netherlands, Ireland, Iceland, Japan, Canada, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, North MacedoniaMalta, Monaco, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, United StatesSweden, Great BritainHungary, Italy and the Marshall Islands.
Main photo source: SERGEI ILNITSKY / PAP / EPA