12 museums among cultural sites damaged or destroyed in Ukraine confirms UNESCO

Image: Left: Ivankiv museum on the 17th of December 2019. Right: The museum on the 27th of February 2022 (2022 Maxar, NextView License. Analysis by UNOSAT)

New figures from UNESCO show the damage caused to the country since February 2022 as its Director-General calls for attacks to stop.

According to a new count, 152 cultural sites in Ukraine have been partially or totally destroyed since the beginning of the war. Last week UNESCO published an updated assessment of the damage caused to cultural sites in Ukraine since 24 February 2022, when the Russian offensive began.

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

Among the museums damaged and destroyed are The Military Historical Museum – a branch of the Chernihiv Historical Museum, Building of regional children’s library, Regional Art Museum. G. Galagana, the Ivankiv Museum, Kharkiv Art Museum, and Hryhorii Skovoroda National Literary Memorial Museum, and the Mariupol Museum of Local Lore.

Three-quarters of the total damaged sites are in three regions: the Donetsk region with 45 damaged cultural sites, the Kharkiv region with 40 damaged sites, and the Kyiv region with 26 damaged sites.

UNESCO has reiterated its call to respect international law, and continues its actions in support of cultural professionals in the field.

Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO said: “These repeated attacks on Ukrainian cultural sites must stop. Cultural heritage, in all its forms, should not be targeted under any circumstances. I reiterate my call for the respect of international humanitarian law, in particular the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.”

UNESCO has provided technical advice to cultural professionals in the field to protect buildings and inventory works, shelters were identified to secure objects that could be moved, and fire-fighting measures were reinforced.

It has also assisted the Ukrainian authorities in marking cultural sites with the distinctive blue shield emblem, which indicates that the property is protected under the 1954 Hague Convention. None of the seven UNESCO World Heritage sites have been affected to date.

UNESCO has created a fund dedicated to actions in support of Ukraine, and is in the process of setting up a team dedicated to the protection of cultural property, based in Kyiv which will soon send a mission of heritage experts to the country.