UN Secretary-General condemns Russian missile attack on Odessa

UN Secretary-General condemns Russian missile attack on Odessa

Antonio Guterres urges Russia ‘to immediately cease attacks against cultural property,’ says his spokesman Stephane Dujarric

By Tugcenur Akgun

NEW YORK (AA) – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday “strongly condemned” a missile attack carried out by Russia on the Ukrainian port city of Odessa which caused civilian casualties and damaged the Transfiguration Cathedral.

“In addition to the appalling toll the war is taking on civilian lives, this is yet another attack in an area protected under the World Heritage Convention, in violation of the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict,” his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a written statement.

Noting that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has verified damage to 270 cultural sites in Ukraine, he said “the Secretary-General is concerned about the threat that this war increasingly poses to Ukrainian culture and heritage.”

“The Secretary-General urges the Russian Federation to immediately cease attacks against cultural property protected by widely ratified international normative instruments,” Dujarric added.

Ukraine said that at least one person was killed and 22 others were injured in the overnight Russian missile strike on Odessa.

The Russian Defense Ministry in a statement denied that it targeted the church, saying the targets were “located at a safe distance from the temple complex.”

“The planning of high-precision strikes against the military and terrorist infrastructure of the Kyiv regime is carried out on the basis of carefully verified and confirmed information through several channels, deliberately excluding the destruction of civilian facilities as well as objects of cultural and historical heritage,” the statement said.

*Alperen Aktas contributed to the story from Istanbul

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