A total of 152 cultural sites in Ukraine have been partially or totally destroyed since the start of the war with Russia, according to a new count by UNESCO, which reiterates its call for respect for international law.

The UNESCO has published this Thursday, June 23, an updated assessment of the damage caused to cultural sites in Ukraine since February 24, 2022, the date of the start of the Russian offensive.

According to the verifications carried out by its experts, 152 cultural places have been partially or totally destroyed as a result of the fighting, including 70 religious buildings, 30 historical buildings, 18 cultural centers, 15 monuments, 12 museums and seven libraries.

“These repeated attacks on Ukrainian cultural sites must be stopped. Cultural heritage, in all its forms, must not be targeted under any circumstances. I reiterate my call for respect for international humanitarian law, in particular the Convention on The Hague for the Protection of Cultural Assets in the event of Armed Conflict”, declared Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO.

Three regions concentrate three quarters of the damaged places: the Donetsk region, where the fighting continues to be particularly intense –with 45 damaged cultural places–, the Kharkov region –40 damaged places– and the kyiv region. –26 locations damaged–.

Since the beginning of the war, the director general of the UNESCO has launched a series of emergency measures to avoid destruction as much as possible. Among them, it has helped the Ukrainian authorities to mark cultural sites with the distinctive Blue Shield emblem. This symbol indicates that the property is protected by the 1954 Hague Convention.

Therefore, any infringement is considered a violation of international law and can be prosecuted. The institution has recalled that none of the seven sites of the UNESCO World Heritage registered in Ukraine has been affected to date.



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