On April 24 and 25, the representatives of the Group of Friends of Ukraine at UNESCO are visiting Ukraine. The delegation includes the Permanent Delegates of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Iceland and Canada to UNESCO.
During the visit, some meetings of the delegation with representatives of the National Commission of Ukraine for UNESCO are planned. In particular, during these meetings, the delegation plans to familiarize themselves with the consequences of the russian invasion of Ukraine in areas within the UNESCO’s mandate and the results of the implementation of UNESCO projects aimed at assisting Ukraine. The delegation aims to outline further steps to provide assistance to Ukraine from partner countries within the framework of UNESCO.
The visit is taking place at the invitation of the First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Head of the National Commission of Ukraine on UNESCO Emine Dzhaparova.
Today, among other things, the delegation visited Bucha and Irpin, and then, during the visit to the capital, they visited Sofia of Kyiv and met with the Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine Oleksandr Tkachenko.
Thus, Oleksandr Tkachenko stated that as of February 25, 2023, 1,322 objects of cultural infrastructure were damaged. Almost a third of them were completely destroyed (505 objects). Among the damaged objects were 22 archaeological objects, 28 military cemeteries, 42 historical monuments, 268 architectural monuments, and 19 monumental art objects.
Therefore, it is currently very crucial to activate international mechanisms for the protection of cultural heritage in the occupied and de-occupied territories,” said the Minister. – Cultural heritage can be under threat from ideological consideration, as places, objects or traditions are symbols of cultural identity. In Ukraine, for example, in the occupied parts of Ukraine, local cultural heritage is being erased through deliberate destruction and damage to places, institutions and objects of cultural, historical and religious significance.
Oleksandr Tkachenko also called on the representatives of the international organization to pay more attention to the problem of the use of cultural heritage by the russian federation to continue and fuel the war at the global and regional levels, as well as to the deliberate destruction and damage of places, institutions and objects of cultural, historical and religious significance in the occupied territories of Ukraine.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the visit will be an opportunity to convey reliable information to the international community about the consequences of the actions of russian invaders in areas within UNESCO’s competence (culture, education, science, environment, sports, media, etc.)
Tomorrow, during the working visit to Ukraine, the Group of Friends of Ukraine at UNESCO will also meet with deputies of the Ukrainian parliament, have a meeting with the Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine, Oksen Lisovyi, and visit the St. Michael’s and St. Andrew’s Cathedrals.
As a reminder, the Group of Friends of Ukraine at UNESCO is an informal association of about 15 delegations of UNESCO member states, created in early 2015 to strengthen support for Ukraine within the the organization after russia’s attempt to annex the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, as well as parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. With the onset of the full-scale war by russia against Ukraine, the representatives of the Group of Friends provide strong and comprehensive support for Ukrainian issues at UNESCO.