Artifacts and Museums in Ukraine in Danger due to War

Artifacts and Museums in Ukraine in Danger due to War

Cultural heritage assets, historical sites, museums, monuments and artifacts are at risk of damage and theft in Russia-occupied Ukraine.

The Russian occupation, which started on February 24, 2022 and is still continuing, also damages the art and cultural heritage in Ukraine.

The recent evaluation report of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) revealed the damage done to cultural heritage in Ukraine. In the last four months, many historical buildings, churches, libraries, monuments and museums have been damaged around Kyiv, Kharkiv and Donetsk.

Ivankiv Museum in Northern Ukraine has Become Unusable

Shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Ivankiv Local History Museum, located in the north of the Kyiv oblast, came under fire as a result of the bombardments. Although some of the artifacts in the museum were saved by the local people during the fire, many of them were destroyed or damaged.

Shortly after the museum was damaged, the International Council of Museums (ICOM) issued a statement condemning Russia.

There were Sculptures from the Scythian Era in the Museum in Mariupol

A local museum in Mariupol, on the coast of the Sea of Azov, in the south of the Donetsk oblast, was damaged by fire during the Siege of Mariupol. Some of the artworks in the museum were transferred to the surrounding museums and warehouses.

The museum in Mariupol included stone sculptures from the Scythians as well as recent artifacts. It is expected that detailed information about the damaged artifacts in the museum will be finalized after the inventory studies.

Ukrainian authorities reported that apart from museums, many historical sites, old churches, monuments, statues, paintings and ethnographic materials were damaged and some were destroyed. Some officials claim that it is deliberate cultural vandalism.

As a matter of fact, Vladimir Putin had previously implied that he did not see Ukraine as a real country.1

Vladimir Putin says he does not see Ukraine as a real country. (February 2022)

Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov Sergeyevich, who was held captive by Russian forces for a short time, claimed last April that Russian soldiers had stolen Scythian gold artifacts from a museum.

UNESCO officials reiterated their call for Russia to comply with international law due to the destruction of cultural assets.

The Hague Convention: It is a treaty created in 1954 for the protection of cultural assets during armed conflicts and ratified by 133 countries today. The symbol of the treaty, to which Russia is also a party, is known as the blue shield and its use is restricted.

It has been reported that there has been no negative situation for the structures on the World Heritage List, such as the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra and the Saint Sophia Cathedral in the capital, Kyiv.

  1. Ukraine is not even a state.”, The London School of Economics and Political Science, 01.07.2020^