Conflict Threatens Ukraine’s Cultural Heritage

The Museum of Culture in Luhansk, Ukraine Photo: Sanja Byelkin via Panoramio

The conflict between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces is threatening the cultural heritage of the Ukraine, The Art Newspaper has reported. In response, Ukraine’s cultural ministry has ordered museums in the east of the country to transfer their most valuable artworks to storage facilities.

Artillery fire has already caused significant damage to the 19th century Museum of Culture of Luhansk and its collection. The Luhansk Regional Museum also suffered damage to its World War II exhibition hall. A public plea on the cultural ministry’s website last week urged the media to stop “emphasizing objects of cultural heritage.”

Meanwhile the International Council of Museums issued a statement from its Kiev-based office asking for help from the public. “We would be grateful for information regarding the situation of museums and monuments in the area … we are not a militarized unit and do not have the opportunity in the current situation to send specialists there since we are unable to guarantee their safety.”

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