“UNESCO is deeply dismayed and condemns in the strongest terms the brazen attack carried out by the Russian forces, which hit several cultural sites in the city center of Odesa, home to the World Heritage property ‘The Historic Centre of Odesa,’” the statement reads.
The organization noted that a number of significant cultural objects were damaged as a result of the attack, including the Transfiguration Cathedral, the first and main Orthodox church in Odesa, founded in 1794.
“This act of hostility comes only days after other attacks that impacted many cultural heritage sites in areas protected under the World Heritage Convention in Lviv and Odesa.,” UNESCO noted.
Director General Audrey Azoulay, emphasized that Russia’s actions violate international obligations to protect cultural heritage.
“This outrageous destruction marks an escalation of violence against cultural heritage of Ukraine. I strongly condemn this attack against culture, and I urge the Russian Federation to take meaningful action to comply with its obligations under international law, including the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and the 1972 World Heritage Convention,” she said.
It is noted that in the coming days, UNESCO will send a mission to Odesa to carry out a preliminary damage assessment.
“These attacks contradict recent statements by the authorities of Russia concerning the precautions taken to spare World Heritage sites in Ukraine including their buffer zones,” the organization added.
UNESCO recalled that the deliberate destruction of cultural objects may amount to a war crime, as also acknowledged by the United Nations Security Council, of which the Russian Federation is a permanent member.
As Ukrinform reported earlier, overnight Sunday, July 23, Russian troops launched a massive missile attack on Odesa. The invaders fired 19 missiles of various types.
The strike hit Odesa’s historic center, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. As a result of the attack, 25 architectural monuments were damaged, including the famous Transfiguration Cathedral.
As a result of the strike, one person died and 22 people were injured, including four children.