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War in Ukraine. $2.6 billion worth of damage to cultural heritage – UNESCO

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The value of damage to cultural heritage sites in Ukraine caused by the Russian attack has already amounted to about USD 2.6 billion, UNESCO announced on Monday. “Protecting culture and education defines Ukraine as a nation,” Audrey Azoulay, head of UNESCO, stressed on the same day, promising assistance during her visit to Ukraine.

Reports of historic buildings being destroyed by the Russians in the area Ukraine started appearing shortly after the invasion that started on February 24, 2022. Within a month a number of Orthodox churches, historic tenement houses and museums were destroyed, including e.g. historic building museum in Kharkiv, with a collection of 25,000 priceless works.

Within a year of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the estimated value of damage to cultural heritage sites has already amounted to about USD 2.6 billion (equivalent to about PLN 11.1 billion), according to a report published on Monday by UNESCO, a specialized organization UN dealing with culture, art and science. According to a report prepared by the Ukrainian authorities, the World Bank, the European Commission and UNESCO, Ukrainian culture, tourism, sports and entertainment lost a total of USD 15.1 billion in revenues during the year (equivalent to approximately PLN 64.6 billion).

SEE ALSO: Aleksander Kwaśniewski: this year is the history of the formation of modern Ukraine

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Director General of UNESCO in Ukraine

On the same day, UNESCO director-general Audrey Azoulay, who visited Ukraine, announced financial assistance in rebuilding after war damage. She stressed that approximately $6.9 billion is needed to repair the damage and put the sectors on their feet. During her visit to Chernihiv, Azoulay met e.g. with Volodymyr Zelensky. There, the President of Ukraine announced a plan to submit the city to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay during a meeting with the President of Ukraine Volodymyr ZelenskyReuters

In addition to discussing the possible inclusion of Chernihiv on the list, Azoulay and Zelensky also discussed measures to further protect Ukrainian cultural sites, promote education, and coordinate international support in these areas. the head of UNESCO stated that the protection of culture and education “defines Ukraine as a nation”, emphasizing that UNESCO’s mission is “to be on the side of the Ukrainian people to protect its cultural heritage”.

In addition, UNESCO’s director-general announced support of $10 million to “strengthen its response” to the “education crisis” in Ukraine.

UNESCO has published a balance sheet

The data published on the UNESCO website, last updated on March 22, 2023, indicate that since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, 248 objects classified as “world heritage” have been destroyed in Ukraine. Among them, 107 sacral buildings, 21 museums, 89 buildings of historical and/or artistic significance, 19 monuments and 12 libraries. The largest number of destroyed objects, 69, was recorded in the Donetsk region.

The destroyed building of the Drama Theater in Mariupol Petro Andryushchenko/Telegram

SEE ALSO: UNESCO grants Odessa the status of endangered World Heritage

AFP, Reuters, UNESCO, tvn24.pl

Main photo source: Petro Andryushchenko/Telegram

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