Ukraine - Q&A (31 May 2022)
Q: According to information from the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, Kyiv city hall is considering the French authorities’ call to rename Moskovskaya Street in the Ukrainian capital. Can you confirm that? How do you explain the proposal to rename the street?
A: We don’t comment on rumors. In any case, this is an internal policy matter of a sovereign state.
Q: Concerning war damage to cultural works that are part of Ukraine’s cultural heritage, has France issued a warning to UNESCO on the dangers of looting?
A: Since the beginning of the Russian aggression in Ukraine, France and its partners have been working to ensure that UNESCO monitors the situation in Ukraine in every area under its purview, including those relating to the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. A decision was adopted in this regard at UNESCO’s Special Session of the Executive Board on March 16, which was convened at the behest of France and others.
France was given assurances by the Ukrainian Embassy and the UNESCO Secretariat that the status of Ukraine’s cultural heritage would be regularly monitored and that the matter could be discussed at the meetings of the 1970 Convention Committee and the Return and Restitution Committee, which were held the week of May 16.
According to the latest UNESCO figures, 137 cultural properties have been destroyed or damaged since the beginning of the war.
In addition, the ALIPH foundation, of which France is a founding member, has released a €2 million package for projects to protect the Ukrainian heritage. This support is consistent with France’s stalwart commitment to heritage preservation.