Oleksandr Tkachenko’s meeting with the Minister of Culture and Sport of Spain: cooperation, protection of cultural heritage, and the development of mechanisms to counter illicit trafficking of Ukraine’s cultural values

On June 19, Oleksandr Tkachenko, the Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, held an online meeting with Miquel Iceta, the Minister of Culture and Sport of the Kingdom of Spain. During the meeting, the parties discussed directions for supporting Ukraine, including the protection and digitalization of the country’s cultural heritage, expanding cooperation between cultural institutions of Ukraine and EU countries, particularly Spain, information security, and mechanisms to counter the illicit trafficking of cultural values looted by russian occupying forces from Ukraine.

Spain will begin its six-month Presidency of the Council of the European Union on July 1, and the Ukraine’s Minister congratulated his colleague, Miquel Iceta, on this occasion. Considering this, the potential participation of Ukraine in the upcoming meeting of the EU Council of Ministers of Culture was discussed, along with the proposed agenda for a meeting dedicated to Ukraine.

“Last year, when Ukraine was invited to participate live for the first time, I had the opportunity to convey important information about the war and Ukraine’s needs. This served as another impetus for systematic assistance and support from my colleagues”, emphasized Oleksandr Tkachenko.

Oleksandr Tkachenko informed the Spanish side about the damaged and destroyed monuments of cultural heritage due to russian armed aggression. From February 24, 2022 to May 15, 2023, the total number of damaged monuments reached 623, and 1,520 objects of cultural infrastructure have also been damaged or destroyed. Additionally, the Ukraine’s Minister informed about the losses caused by the destruction of the Kakhovka HPP due to russian actions. As a result, 147 institutions of culture and artistic education in Kherson and Mykolaiv regions are at risk. Many monuments of history, architecture and urban planning are also completely or partially flooded. In light of this, both sides discussed the necessity of rebuilding the affected regions, in which Spain can also contribute.

“I am sincerely grateful to our Spanish colleagues for their conviction in the necessity of further close cooperation, active promotion of Ukrainian cultural products worldwide, and the rebuilding of our country from the consequences of aggression,” said Oleksandr Tkachenko.

The Ukraine’s Minister expressed his appreciation for the intentions to hold the exhibition of Joan Miró in Kyiv. He also expressed hope that the Ukrainian art could be presented in the Prado Museum, just as it already does in the Louvre Museum in France. Oleksandr Tkachenko emphasized the importance of cooperation between cultural institutions of our countries and the need for support. For example, students of the Kyiv National I. K. Karpenko-Karyi University of Theatre, Cinema and Television are currently planning to stage a Spanish play in Spain. The exhibition of Ukrainian modernism “In the Eye of the Storm. Modernism in Ukraine 1900-1930’s” impressed visitors at the Thyssen-Bornemisza National Museum in Madrid. Additionally, the performance by the Spanish conductor Ramón Torrelledó in Kyiv this year also left a lasting impression.

Additionally, the possibility of signing a Memorandum of Understanding on the support of Cultural Heritage between the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine and the Ministry of Culture and Sport of the Kingdom of Spain was discussed.

Miquel Iceta expressed his conviction in the necessity of further close cooperation and active promotion of Ukrainian cultural content.

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