Russia claimed on Sunday that Ukraine is the subject of a “biased approach” by the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
In a statement posted on Telegram, Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, claimed that “representatives of the bureaucracy of this organization refuse to notice the lawlessness that has been occurring in Ukraine for many years.”
Zakharova said UNESCO “kept silent” in December when Ukraine took down the monument in Odesa to Catherine the Great, who is believed to be the southern Ukrainian city’s founder.
She added that the historical center of the city, which UNESCO decided to start “culturally protecting” soon after, cannot be called “historical” anymore.
Zakharova also commented on a statement posted earlier in the day on Twitter by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, saying that Kyiv “has no right to appeal to legality” after what it has done with dozens of Orthodox churches, particularly the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra.
“By the way, the damage to the Transfiguration Cathedral is also on the conscience of the Kyiv regime and incompetent operators of air defense systems, which are deliberately deployed by the Ukrainian army in residential quarters, and the Defense Ministry has already confirmed this,” she added.
Earlier on Sunday, a Russian missile strike in Odesa damaged civil infrastructure and residential buildings, including the historical Transfiguration Cathedral, the city’s largest Orthodox church building.
Following the strike, Kuleba wrote on Twitter that “barrages of Russian missiles kill people and ruin iconic sites in UNESCO-protected Odesa.”
“Russia has been systematically destroying the Orthodox Church in Ukraine and its premises. The latest is today’s strike on Odesa’s Transfiguration Cathedral. We will raise this at the next UNSC (United Nations Security Council) meeting on Ukraine to make it clear: Russia is the only threat to Ukraine’s Orthodoxy,” Kuleba said in a later tweet.