MOSCOW, August 31. /TASS/. Alexander Kuznetsov, Russia’s permanent representative at UNESCO, on Wednesday said the situation around the inclusion of Odessa in UNESCO’s World Heritage list has been created to stage an "anti-Russian show."
"Why has the Ukrainian side kept Odessa on the preliminary national list for 13 years, since 2009, and is only now making feverish efforts to include it in the UNESCO list as soon as possible. This is another question that comes up: If Kiev is in such a hurry with this case, then why are its Western sponsors blocking the next session of the World Heritage Committee? <...> All this is creating the impression that the fuss around Odessa was started not for the sake of this beautiful city, but for staging another anti-Russian show," he said on Rossiya-24 television.
Kuznetsov said that not a single Ukrainian item included in the UNESCO World Heritage List was damaged during the entire period of Russia's special military operation in Ukraine. According to the Russian envoy, that’s another piece of evidence showing that "we are not talking about a noble cause of protecting heritage, but about another propaganda trick."
Earlier, UNESCO said following a meeting of the head of the organization, Audrey Azoulay, with the Minister of Culture of Ukraine Aleksander Tkachenko that Kiev plans to ask UNESCO to include the historical center of Odessa in the list of world cultural heritage sites. UNESCO has asked experts to consider Odessa's candidacy at a meeting of the World Heritage Committee. The organization will support Odessa in digitizing at least 1,000 works of art and documents that are stored in the city.