UNESCO Reports 341 Cultural Sites in Ukraine Damaged, Puts Recovery Costs at $9B.

UNESCO has raised the number Ukraine will need over the next decade to properly rehabilitate its interconnected cultural and tourism sectors from around $6.9 billion to $9 billion.

Last April, UNESCO reported that 248 heritage sites in Ukraine had been damaged amid Russia’s 2022 invasion, and estimated that the total cost of destruction to Ukrainian cultural property was $2.5 billion.Now, two years into the war, the United Nations’ cultural agency has added nearly one hundred landmarks to that toll, and raised its estimate of financial losses to nearly $3.5 billion.

341 cultural sites—including 26 religious structures, 150 buildings of historical or artistic importance, and 31 museums—across Ukraine have been damaged. Additionally, more than 15,000 pieces of Ukrainian fine art and artifacts have been reported as missing. Reports have surfaced of the systematic plunder of Ukrainian museums by Russian forces, which is a war crime.

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UNESCO has also raised the number Ukraine will need over the next decade to properly rehabilitate its interconnected cultural and tourism sectors from around $6.9 billion to $9 billion. Since the start of the war, the country’s tourism has lost over $19 billion in revenue.

UNESCO has been an active partner in the preservation of Ukraine’s cultural assets. In April 2023, Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO’s director-general pledged more than $10 millionto rehabilitation efforts, and added the historic center of theUkrainian Black Sea port city Odesato its list of endangered World Heritage sites—a move which should ensure Odesa gets extra international aid along with potential consequences for its destruction.

That same year, an aerial assault on the city resulted in the destruction of part of the Odesa Museum of Modern Art and Odesa Museum of Fine Arts. UNESCO funded repairs to both museums and financed efforts to digitize artworks and provide protective equipment.

Azoulay has condemned in “the strongest terms” Russia’s attack on Ukrainian cultural heritage.

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