Nearly 100 Ukraine heritage sites damaged in invasion

Picture taken from the Mariupol drama theatre, bombed last March 16, shows the central avenue of Mariupol on April 12, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
PARIS — Almost 100 cultural and religious sites in Ukraine have sustained damage since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24, the United Nation’s cultural agency UNESCO said on Wednesday.اضافة اعلان

The estimate represents a near doubling of the previous number UNESCO issued two weeks ago as concern grows over the consequences of the assault for Ukrainian cultural heritage.

“The mark of 100 damaged or totally destroyed sites will be reached on Thursday or Friday — this morning we are at 98 sites and monuments listed in eight regions of the country,” Lazare Eloundou Assomo, director of world heritage at UNESCO, told AFP in an interview.

He said these included a range of sites, including some from the early medieval era to others seen as landmarks of early Soviet architecture.

“The number could rise still further,” Eloundou Assomo warned, saying some areas were becoming accessible only now while others were the scene of intensifying fighting.

“Some of these sites and monuments will take time to rebuild and others probably cannot be rebuilt at all.”

He warned that any targeting of buildings bearing the UNESCO-backed Blue Shield that signals cultural heritage “is a violation of international law and could also be considered a war crime”.

UNESCO uses satellite images and witness reports from the scene to verify information provided by the Ukrainian authorities.

None of those confirmed damaged are on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in Ukraine, such as the Saint-Sophia Cathedral and monastic buildings of the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra in the capital.

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