Russia is trying to destroy Ukrainian culture

UN experts said on Wednesday that Russia’s “deliberate” destruction of Ukraine’s culture could be tantamount to an attempt to deprive Ukrainians of the right to their own identity a year after the Russian invasion.

Experts called for an end to deliberate damage to objects, institutions and objects of cultural, historical and religious significance in Ukraine.

They stated that the denigration of the history and identity of the Ukrainian people is used as an excuse for war and hatred.

“Numerous objects, institutions and objects of cultural, historical and religious significance in Ukraine have been partially or completely destroyed as a result of military attacks by the Russian Federation,” the experts said in a statement.

“These include memorials and monuments, civic buildings, museums, theaters, monuments, statues, places of worship, cemeteries, libraries, archives, as well as schools, universities and hospitals.”

The statement was written by the UN Special Rapporteurs on Cultural Rights, the Right to Education and Religious Freedom.

Special Rapporteurs are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, but are volunteers, independent experts who do not speak on behalf of the United Nations.

The UN cultural agency UNESCO has estimated that more than 240 cultural properties have been damaged in Ukraine over the past year.

But experts say the true number is likely much higher, citing estimates that are in excess of 1,000.

They said the attacks on densely populated areas are of such magnitude “as to suggest a deliberate campaign of destruction.”

Experts expressed concern about the “harsh persecution of Ukrainian cultural symbols”, the “destruction” of the country’s literature, museums and archives against the backdrop of the widespread “demonization” of Ukrainian culture and identity by Russian officials.

“Let’s be clear: the Ukrainian people have a right to their own identity. No one can violate this right,” the special rapporteurs said.

According to them, in occupied Ukraine, “attempts are being made to erase the local culture, history and language” and forcefully replace them with Russian and Soviet versions.

Experts said they had written to Moscow but had not yet received a response.

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