The historical center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv and Kyiv’s Saint Sophia Cathedral should be added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites in danger due to the Russian invasion, a senior official at the UN organization said on Tuesday.
The head of the World Heritage Program, Lazare Eloundou, told AFP in Paris that “these sites are threatened with destruction.
There have been attacks on the buffer zones around these sites, and we don’t know what will happen in the future.
The decision will “likely” be made “based on experts’ opinions” that the sites are “demonstrably in danger” by the World Heritage Committee, which will meet in Riyadh from September 10–25.
Several of the city’s buildings were destroyed in late July in what UNESCO referred to at the time as a “brazen” attack.
The center of the Ukrainian port city of Odesa is already on the list of endangered World Heritage Sites. Early in July, a second historic building in Lviv was bombed; according to the UN, this was the first attack on a location protected by the World Heritage Convention and the first “violation” of the document by Russia since its invasion.
Since Moscow’s tanks invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, UNESCO has recorded damage to 270 Ukrainian cultural sites. The Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv’s historic center is “one of the major monuments representing architectural and monumental art,” along with the Kyiv Pechersk Lavra monastery.
While Lviv’s medieval center was added to the list in 1996, they have both been on it since 1990.